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MONDAY EDITION: I bought a copy of the Gordon West General class manual which will be used for an upcoming class at the radio club, it is a first class publicatiion if I say so.  Nicely done!....

A Brief Repose in the Heavens: The FUNcube Satellite Powers Down to Recharge

In the vast expanse of our universe, where the dance of celestial bodies unfolds in silence, a tiny beacon of human ingenuity takes a well-deserved rest. The FUNcube satellite, known affectionately as AO-73 among the amateur radio community, has announced a temporary cessation of its transponder operations from March 3rd to March 15th. Launched into the starry abyss in 2013, this compact cube has been a bridge between the heavens and Earth, providing not only a platform for radio enthusiasts but also a unique educational tool for schools worldwide.

A Pause for Power

The decision to temporarily shut down the transponder comes after a period of intense activity that has put a strain on the satellite’s batteries. In an era where the sustainability of our technological endeavors becomes increasingly pivotal, this move underscores a commitment to preserving the longevity of our extraterrestrial assets. While the transponder takes its brief hiatus, FUNcube will not go silent. It will transition to Safe mode, continuing to emit low-power telemetry signals. These transmissions serve a dual purpose: ensuring the satellite’s health and providing valuable data for educational purposes.

Read mre – BNN: https://bit.ly/48oXdXm

 

WEEKEND EDITION: Choose the best AAA battery....Google Apologizes for Hurting White Peoples’ Feelings....We added a 100 watt Henry amplifier yesterday to the 443.700 Fusion repeater in Gloucester, it should increase the footprint dramatically filling in the coverage holes....First U.S. moon landing since 1972 as private spacecraft touches down

Amateur Radio Operators Needed for Help with Solar Eclipse Project

The Case Amateur Radio Club, W8EDU, the club station at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, is asking for amateur radio operators to help with a research project centered around the April 8, 2024, solar eclipse.

W8EDU club member Adam Goodman, W7OKE, said the project centers around studying the effects of the eclipse on propagation to better understand the recombination time of the ionosphere.  

"To do this, we are recruiting North American amateur stations interested in recording the Canadian time standard station CHU (Canada's WWV) for two weeks surrounding the eclipse," added Goodman. "Anyone with a KiwiSDR or a rig that can interface with analysis/recording software such as Fldigi is encouraged to reach out to us to participate."  

W8EDU club member and project software manager Maris Usis, KE8TXG, said that while the software is simple to use, there is some detailed work involved. "We can help make it easier and there are good online instructions as well," said Usis.  

All of the participation details are on the club's website at https://w8edu.wordpress.com/chu-eclipse-data-collection/.  

W8EDU club faculty advisor David Kazdan, AD8Y, said the research project has received positive attention from the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Program community, the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) community, and Case Western Reserve University's engineering deans. "It is already a truly international effort, and we are collaborating with more than 20 stations across the continent, from collegiate and high school stations, to a representative from the Radio Amateurs of Canada, to a station in Mexico," said Kazdan.  

The 2024 solar eclipse will over Mexico, the United States, and Canada. ARRL is a partner with HamSCI to help promote this opportunity for radio amateurs to participate in an active science experiment, through the Solar Eclipse QSO Party.

Amateur Radio Newsline Report

QUESTIONS LINGER OVER MISSING RADIO TOWER

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: For our top story this week, we return to Jasper, Alabama, where a broadcast tower mysteriously disappeared in early February. For now, that mystery remains. Kent Peterson KCØDGY gives us a closer look.

KENT: As police in Jasper, Alabama, continue to puzzle over the apparent overnight disappearance of a 200-foot radio tower, listeners bemoan the loss of the AM station that has been a mainstay in the metropolitan Birmingham area since it first went on the air in 1957. A recent report in the New York Times quoted longtime listeners as praising station WJLX - "The Sound of Walker County" - as being a trusted voice carrying information, storm warnings, traffic reports and sports scores.

The voice went mysteriously silent from AM as the theft of its tower was reported in a case that has baffled local authorities and cast doubts for many - including the police - as to what really happened. The absence of an AM station also prevented the broadcaster from keeping its FM counterpart on the air, in compliance with FCC regulations. The station's programming was carried only online until iHeart Media provided one of its HD3 channel on the broadcaster's WDXB station in Birmingham. According to a report in RadioWorld, iHeart received the FCC's approval and the broadcaster is now providing a signal to the WJLX FM translator on 101.5 MHz.

Meanwhile, concern remains over the fate of its AM outlet. The station has begun raising funds by establishing a GoFundMe page. The station manager, Brett Elmore, is quoted in the New York Times as asking: “Who in the world steals a radio tower?”

Jasper police and listeners are asking the same question.

For now, not quite a month later, there are unproven theories - but as Newsline went to production, there were still no answers.

This is Kent Peterson KCØDGY.

(RADIO WORLD, NEW YORK TIMES)

**
SCOUTS ACHIEVE DIRECT CONTACT WITH ISS ASTRONAUT

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: In California, Girl Scouts who were involved in the planning and design of an amateur radio station finally got to use it on Thursday, February 22nd, in a 10-minute contact with the International Space Station. Unlike many of the typical ARISS contacts that have been made using a Telebridge station, this was a direct contact from the station created at Girl Scouts Headquarters in California. The girls were involved in its creation from the start with help from the River City Amateur Radio Communications Society and Girl Scout Heart of Central California coordinated by Jen Garland, KI1TTY [KAY EYE ONE TTY]. The girls' instruction provided a look at hams' emergency response roles -- and of course a possible career as an astronaut.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4qI2mNreOY ARISS Contact

(JEN GARLAND, KI1TTY, ARISS)

**
DIGIPEATER IS BACK IN ACTION ON THE ISS

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: In other news about the ISS, the onboard packet radio digipeater resumed activity on 145.825 MHz as of the 15th of February. Additional digipeater access is expected to become available starting on March 1st, with the launch of two new ham radio satellites: Germany's SONATE-2 and CROCUBE from Croatia. Both satellites are on educational missions. SONATE-2, from the University of Wuerzburg (PRON: Vertz Berg), has a CW beacon and a SSTV transmitter in addition to the digipeater. CROCUBE has a similar configuration, however it will use an experimental SSDV downlink and have the capacity to send anniversary and special occasion messages via AX.25 and CW.

(ARISS, AMATEUR RADIO DAILY, AMSAT)

**
NEW RULES IN EFFECT FOR UK AMATEURS

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: Hams in the UK have begun experiencing the first of many sweeping changes Ofcom has made to licences and the licensing process. Jeremy Boot G4NJH tells us more.

JEREMY: With the first rule changes from Ofcom having come into effect on the 21st, the regulator will send out a new licence document to all UK operators no later than autumn of this year. As reported earlier, Ofcom's new rules not only simplify the licence process but permit ham radio equipment to be operated under the supervision of a licensee. Regional secondary locators have also become optional. Ofcom has also raised the maximum power hams can use on most of the bands. The regulator has promoted the changes for giving amateurs what it calls [quote] "freedom to innovate."

This is Jeremy Boot G4NJH.

(OFCOM)

**
AMATEUR LICENSE CHANGES BEGIN IN AUSTRALIA

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: Likewise, Australian hams are settling in to some new license changes too. John Williams VK4JJW brings us up to date.

JOHN: Changes have taken effect in Australia on the assignment of amateur radio licences. On the 19th of February, the change was made to a class-licence system, meaning that the Australian Communications and Media Authority is no longer renewing non-assigned amateur licences. Although assigned apparatus licences are still required to operate a repeater or a beacon, all other amateur operations are now covered by the new system.

Hams surrendering their non-assigned amateur licences renewed in the last few months may be eligible for a refund from the ACMA. Most hams in Australia needed to take no action to complete their transition to the new class licence, which is issued for free.

This is John Williams VK4JJW.

**

INDIAN DXPEDITION TESTS DX ABILITIES OF VHF REPEATER

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: An island DXpedition by Indian amateurs successfully tested the DX capabilities of an important VHF repeater on the mainland. Jim Meachen ZL2BHF has those details.

JIM: A strategically located VHF repeater in India was put to the test over the weekend of February 18th during a Beaches on the Air DXpedition that reached 27 countries on SSB from Henry's Island. The island location is significant because it is located in the Sunderbans Reserve Forest, an area in Bengal that is prone to violent cyclones and from time to time in need of emergency radio support.

A six-member team of hams from the West Bengal Radio Club made the QSOs while studying the changes in propagation that occur during the seasonal change from winter to summer. Although the hams are proud of the DX contacts they made during the weekend, they are prouder still of the successful connection they can rely on from the island to the VHF repeater located atop the highest building in Kolkata. It fulfilled a very practical, lifesaving objective: maintaining contact from a region that is imperiled when disaster strikes.

This is Jim Meachen ZL2BHF

(THE STATESMAN)

**

SILENT KEY, BILL HUDZIK, W2UDT, OF ARRL HUDSON DIVISION

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: A prominent radio amateur in the New York area of the ARRL has become a Silent Key. The death of Bill Hudzik, W2UDT, past vice director for the ARRL's Hudson Division, was reported on Facebook and in an ARRL newsletter by Nomar, NP4H, the division director.

Bill had stepped down as vice director of the ARRL Hudson Division on February 1st, 2022. He had told fellow amateurs at the Division awards luncheon that his decision was based on having been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Bill was originally appointed to the post of vice director in 2011 following the retirement of Frank Fallon, N2FF.

Bill had a reputation for representing ham interests in legislative matters in New Jersey, including advocacy for amateurs in gaining an exemption from a state law that banned cell phone use by motorists. Bill had previously served as ARRL's Northern New Jersey section manager. He had been a ham since 1961.

No other details were immediately available.

(ARRL)

**
LUNAR LANDER DELAYS LAUNCH OF CREW-8 ASTRONAUTS

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: NASA's Crew-8 astronauts have had to wait a little longer for their launch but the space agency gave them a good reason. Andy Morrison K9AWM explains.

ANDY: The launch of a robotic lunar lander has delayed the departure of SpaceX's eighth crewed operational mission to the ISS. NASA's Crew-8 astronauts include Matthew Dominick, KCØTOR, the commander; Michael Barratt, KD5MIJ, the pilot; and Jeanette Epps, KF5QNU, the mission specialist. They are to be accompanied by mission specialist and Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin.

Their date with the launch pad was moved from the 22nd of February to no earlier than the 28th when they will be aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

Meanwhile, the robotic lander known as Odysseus - nicknamed Odie - lifted off on February 15th and is expected to become the first private spacecraft to land on the moon. It was built by Intuitive Machines, a company based in Houston. The US has not touched the surface of the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

This is Andy Morrison K9AWM.

SKYWARN NEEDS TRAINED SPOTTERS

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: Looking for a way to get ready for hurricane season? Randy Sly W4XJ is here to give us one option.

RANDY: We're approaching that time of year when the National Weather Service begins SKYWARN spotter training in the US for the start of hurricanes and other storms of spring and summer. Lloyd Colston, KC5FM, told Newsline that in his area of the United States, Wichita, Kansas as well as the Norman and Tulsa, Oklahoma weather forecast offices have already announced their upcoming classes. He said preparation is an important and serious undertaking.

LLOYD: “You can be aware or you can be scared. The National Weather Service offers training locally and virtually so you can be aware.”

RANDY: Christopher Strong, warning coordination meteorologist for the Baltimore/Washington DC Weather Forecast Office told Amateur Radio Newsline that hams can play a big part in being [quote] “weather aware, by knowing what threats are possible.” Amateur radio operators not only need to keep our equipment ready to go but also keep our training up to date.

You can attend spotter training online or find out about classes in your area by visiting Weather.gov, then locate your local office by entering your zip code in the search box. When you find your local office, look for the Skywarn link.

This is Randy Sly, W4XJ

**
AWARD HONORS THE OPEN INNOVATIVE SPIRIT OF HAM RADIO

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: The window is closing to submit names of candidates for an award that honors the open, innovative spirit of ham radio. Sel Embee KB3 T ZED D tells us how to apply.

SEL: Now in its fifth year, the Amateur Radio Software Award recognizes the contributions that free, open source software has made to enhance the experience of ham radio. The international award's judges are now in search of this year's recipient from anywhere in the world.

Last year's winner was Stephen Loomis, NØTTL, whose development of GridTracker has helped hams simplify the tracking of contacts by visualizing radio traffic on such modes as FT8. Earlier winners were David Rowe, VK5DGR, for his Codec 2 project, which gives digital voice communications access to other software and hardware projects without the need for licensing, fees and other concerns. Jordan Sherer, KN4CRD, and his project, JS8Call, won the award in 2021 and the first award recipient was Anthony Good, K3NG, for the K3NG Arduino CW Keyer.

In addition to receiving the award, winners are also celebrated later in the year with a special event station calling attention to the innovative spirit they represent. For details, visit a r s award dot com. Deadline is the 29th of February.

This is Sel Embee KB3TZD.

(ARSAWARD.COM)

**
DX CENTURY CLUB AWARD HONORS THE ELMERS BEHIND THE CHASERS

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: Behind every achievement of a young DX chaser, there is at least one mentor who has cheered them on with moral support and technical guidance. Working quietly behind the scenes, these seasoned hams become big achievers too. Now these Elmers are getting a moment in the sun as well, as we hear from Newsline's newest correspondent, Travis Lisk N3ILS.

TRAVIS: The DX Century Club award is a top amateur radio honor that recognizes hams who have confirmed contacts with 100 entities. Now those hams who have guided younger achievers on their journey to DXCC are in line for a top award themselves. A team of DX organizations is preparing to give a mentor recognition award this May at the annual DX Dinner, which coincides with Hamvention in Xenia.

To qualify for the award, mentors must have assisted a DX chaser who is under the age of 30. Applicants will be reviewed by a judging committee made up of representatives from the Southwest Ohio DX Association, the Northern California DX Foundation and the International DX Association.

For an application form, send an email to thedxmentor at gmail dot com (thedxmentor@gmail.com)

This is Travis Lisk N3ILS.

(425 DX BULLETIN, SWODXA)

**
WORLD OF DX

In the World of DX, listen for the Intrepid DX Group's DXpedition to Pigeon Island, IOTA Number OC-065, from the 22nd of February to the 7th of March. The team will be operating CW, SSB and FT8 in fox and hound mode on 160 through 6 metres. There will be as many as six stations operational. Watch the team's Facebook page for updates. See QRZ.com for QSL details.

You have until the 26th of February to work Chuck, KC4KQE, who is on the air as TF/KC4KQE from Iceland. He is operating SSB and FT8, activating several POTA and SOTA locations during daylight hours. See QRZ.com for QSL details.

Timo, OH1NA, will be operating holiday style as 3B8/OH1NA from Mauritius, IOTA Number AF-049, from the 25th of February to the 7th of March. He will operate CW, SSB, FT8 and FT4. See QRZ.com for QSL details.

Listen for Nobby, G0VJG, operating holiday style as 5H3VJG from Zanzibar Island, IOTA Number AF-032, Tanzania from the 7th to the 20th of March. He will be using mainly SSB with some CW and FT8. He is expecting to operate in the RSGB Commonwealth Contest on the 9th and 10th of March. See QRZ. com for QSL details.

**
KICKER: NETS OF NOTE: THE PUN-IN-LIFE NET

STEPHEN/ANCHOR: We end this week's report by putting the spotlight on a new net as part of our occasional series "Nets of Note." Newsline visits this week with a startup net for hams who take radio seriously enough to know there's also a time for laughter. As Ralph Squillace KK6ITB tells us, this is no joke - or....is it?

RALPH: The multi-mode digital network known as the QuadNet Array doesn't just unite fans of D-STAR, DMR and C4FM Fusion. Starting next month, a new mode will be added to the mix once a week: Pun Mode. Pun Mode is neither digital nor analogue and it's not the exclusive practice of ham radio operators. Hams who have a reputation for groan-inducing wordplay now have a refuge in which to practice their craft. The Pun in Life Net is starting up on the QuadNet array beginning on Saturday the 2nd of March at 4 p.m. Eastern Time, 1 p.m. Pacific Time. The net control and punster-in-chief is Daryl Stout, N5VLZ, a past participant in the World Championship Pun-Off held every May at the O. Henry Museum in Austin Texas. Humor must conform to on-the-air standards of decency -- and because this is a digital mode, the only QRM you are likely to hear are the loud groans from everyone else.

Visit the website openquad dot net (openquad.net) to check it out before you check in. Daryl is hoping for a big enough crowd to make this a pun-in-a-million experience.

Man in Backyard Talks to Orbiting Astronaut Using Homemade Antenna

A Michigan ham radio operator used a homemade setup with a handheld antenna to talk to an astronaut orbiting the Earth on the International Space Station. I didn’t know this was a thing! The astronaut even sent him a QSL card acknowledging the conversation (included at the end of the video). There’s more info on Reddit about the radio, antenna, and conversation.  VIDEO

The ISS even has an unofficial program that allows students to talk to astronauts on the station via ham radio.

An almost-all-volunteer organization called Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, now helps arrange contact between students and astronauts on the space station. Students prepare to ask questions rapid-fire, one after another, into the ham radio microphone for the brief 10-minute window before the space station flies out of range.

“We try to think of ourselves as planting seeds and hoping that we get some mighty oaks to grow,” said Kenneth G. Ransom, the ISS Ham project coordinator at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

That this is even possible with low-powered communication devices underscores just how close the ISS is to Earth: 200-250 miles above the surface. That’s the distance between Dallas & Houston or NYC to Boston.

SpaceX seeks a waiver to launch Starship “at least” nine times this year

"They're looking at a pretty aggressive launch schedule this year."

As SpaceX nears its first Starship launch of 2024—possibly as soon as within three weeks—from its Starbase facility in South Texas, the company is pressing regulators to increase its cadence of flights.

During a press availability this week, the administrator for Commercial Space Transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration, Kelvin Coleman, said the agency is working with the company to try to facilitate the Starship launch-licensing process.

"They're looking at a pretty aggressive launch schedule this year," he said. "They're looking at, I believe, at least nine launches this year. That's a lot of launches. If you're doing modifications and doing them one by one, that's a lot of work. We've been talking to SpaceX constantly around the clock, coming together and trying to figure out how do we do this. We're invested with the company, and so we'll work with them to get them back going as soon as they can."

After SpaceX decided to launch and attempt to land its Starship vehicle in Texas about five years ago, the company had to undergo an enhanced environmental review of the site. As a part of this process, the FAA completed a Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment in June 2022. Following that review, SpaceX received approval to conduct up to five Starship launches from South Texas annually. An FAA official confirmed to Ars that the company is seeking a modification of this five-launch limit to accommodate a higher flight rate.

Next launch, next month?

SpaceX launched its first Starship vehicle, which is the largest rocket ever built and is intended to eventually be fully reusable, in April 2023. That flight caused serious damage to the launch site near Boca Chica Beach and raised environmental concerns after it kicked up large chunks of concrete and dust into the surrounding wetlands. Coleman said the anomaly investigation and regulatory review process after that flight took about six months, which he believes is commensurate with the work involved.

The company's second launch attempt in November was more successful, as the first-stage booster, Super Heavy, had a mostly nominal flight, and the Starship upper stage managed to separate from the booster before it experienced an anomaly and was lost. There was no damage on the ground this time. The work entailed by the FAA for this anomaly review was about one-third as much, Coleman said.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk has said his company is now targeting early to mid-March for the third launch attempt of Starship. This flight of the highly experimental vehicle, Musk said, has a reasonably good chance of successfully reaching orbit. Coleman said that, from a regulatory standpoint, that timeline sounds "about right."

Staffing up

During congressional testimony last October, SpaceX Vice President of Build and Flight Reliability Bill Gerstenmaier said he wanted to see the US House and Senate provide more resources to the FAA for its licensing review processes. The number of US launches has grown from a few dozen per year to more than 100, and there is a multiplicity of new companies seeking regulatory approval for spaceflight activities. The agency expects to license more than 150 launches and reentries this year. Its primary task is to protect people and property on the ground from spaceflight hazards.

"Well, I think Gerst was right," Coleman said, referring to Gerstenmaier by his commonly used sobriquet. "And I appreciated what he had to say so far as advocating for more resources."

Coleman said that when he joined the Commercial Space Transportation arm of the FAA in 1996, the organization had 40 employees. A decade ago, there were 73. Now there are 143, and the organization is "aggressively" seeking to grow to 157 staffers in Florida, California, Texas, and Washington, DC.

"Right now, we're at about 140 people, and they're pedaling as fast as they can," he said. "We're working on the weekends. We're working late into the night. We do need additional staff."

THURSDAY EDITION: Well wishes and quick recovery for Ranger Rick- K1BQT from surgery yesterday....

 

Larry W1MDK and Larry AJ1Z working hard at the site

W1GLO145.130 FM Gloucester, MA  repeater and W1GLO 443.700 Fusion repeater undergoing a little surgery. We have a new lockable rack and before we left also installed the 440 repeater in this case. We pulled the 2 meter duplexers for tuning after figuring where they would fit and called it a day, still more work to be done while waiting for the new hardline and antenna.

Cellular outages hit thousands in U.S., AT&T users most affected....did they call ham radio to save the day?

A cellular outage early on Thursday hit thousands of AT&T  users in the United States, disrupting calls and text messages as well as emergency services in major cities including San Francisco.

More than 50,000 incidents were reported around 7:00 a.m. ET, according to data from outage tracking website Downdetector.com.

Users of Verizon , T-Mobile  and UScellular also reported disruptions, though the outage with the services was much smaller than AT&T, according to Downdetector.

The outage was impacting people’s ability to reach emergency services by dialing 911, a post on social media platform X from the San Francisco Fire Department said.

‘Thinking Day on the Air’

Cranbury Girl Scouts explored everything radio when they participated in the “Thinking Day on the Air” event on Feb. 16.

Daisy Troop 78204 learned about amateur radio and the science firsthand when it comes to radio communication.

The event had members of the Troop connect through the radio with other participants in a different state.

“Thinking Day on the Air was created in 1985 to celebrate 75 years of Girl Guides and as a precursor event to World Thinking Day,” said Delpha Georges of Daisy Troop 78204.

“At the meeting the girls practiced communicating in morse code, shared messages over radio walkie talkies and then went on the air making contact with three young ham radio operators all the way out in Michigan ages 10, 11 and 13.”

Daisy Troop 78204 was supported by the Delaware Valley Radio Association operators – Bow Boden, Bob Stoker, and Tobi Massano, according to Georges, who noted Massano is also a Lifetime Girl Scout.

“Thinking Day on the Air is designed to not only explore amateur radio but make friends with others scouts across world, expose youth to amateur radio and connect them through the use of radio.”

 

WEDNESDAY EDITION: I will show some before and after pictures of our 2/440 repeater system at the ATT tower site tomorrow, we will do the work this morning and clean up the installation...

I miss my bulldogs, they don't live long enough for the joy and memories they bring. When we lived near the high school, the dog would escape and find my boys at school, he had such good attendance they put him in the yearbook! True story, good old Spike!

NASA-Funded Science Projects Tuning In to ‘Eclipse Radio’

On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross parts of the United States. For millions of people along the path of totality, where the Moon will completely cover the Sun, it may feel like an eerie daytime darkness has descended as temperatures drop and wind patterns change. But these changes are mild compared to what happens some 100 to 400 miles above our heads in an electrically conductive layer of our atmosphere known as the ionosphere, where the “false night” of an eclipse is amplified a hundredfold. Three NASA-funded experiments will investigate the eclipse’s effects on the ionosphere through the power of radio, a technology well suited to studying this enigmatic layer of our atmosphere. 

Whether you’ve heard of the ionosphere or not, you’ve likely taken advantage of its existence. This electric blanket of particles is critical for long-distance AM and shortwave radio. Radio operators aim their transmitters into the sky, “bouncing” signals off this layer and around the curvature of Earth to extend their broadcast by hundreds or even thousands of miles.

The ionosphere is sustained by our Sun. The Sun's rays separate negatively charged electrons from atoms, creating the positively charged ions that the ionosphere is named for. When night falls, over 60 miles of the ionosphere disappears as ions and electrons recombine into neutral atoms. Come dawn, the electrons are freed again and the ionosphere swells in the Sun’s illumination – a daily cycle of “breathing” in and out at a global scale.

A total solar eclipse is a scientific goldmine – a rare chance to observe a natural experiment in action. On April 8 the three NASA-funded projects listed below are among those “tuning in” to the changes wrought by a blotted-out Sun.

SuperDARN

The Super Dual Auroral Radar Network, or SuperDARN, is a collection of radars located at sites around the world. They bounce radio waves off of the ionosphere and analyze the returning signal. Their data reveals changes in the ionosphere’s density, temperature, and location (i.e. movement).

The 2024 eclipse will pass over three U.S.-based SuperDARN radars. A team of scientists led by Bharat Kunduri, a professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, have been busy preparing for it.

“The changes in solar radiation that occur during a total solar eclipse can result in a ’thinning’ of the ionosphere,” Kunduri said. “During the eclipse, SuperDARN will operate in special modes designed to monitor the changes in the ionosphere at finer spatiotemporal scales.”

Kunduri’s team will compare SuperDARN’s measurements to predictions from computer models to answer questions about how the ionosphere responds to a solar eclipse.

HamSCI

While some experiments rely on massive radio telescopes, others depend more on people power. The Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation, or HamSCI, is a NASA citizen science project that involves amateur or “ham” radio operators. On April 8, ham radio operators across the country will attempt to send and receive signals to one another before, during, and after the eclipse. Led by Nathaniel Frissell, a professor of Physics and Engineering at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, HamSCI participants will share their radio data to catalog how the sudden loss of sunlight during totality affects their radio signals.

This experiment follows similar efforts completed during the 2017 total solar eclipse and the 2023 annular eclipse.

“During the 2017 eclipse, we found that the ionosphere behaved very similar to nighttime,” Frissell said. Radio signals traveled farther, and frequencies that typically work best at night became usable. Frissell hopes to continue the comparison between eclipses and the day/night cycle, assessing how widespread the changes in the ionosphere are and comparing the results to computer models.

RadioJOVE

Some radio signals don’t bounce off of the ionosphere – instead, they pass right through it. Our Sun is constantly roiling with magnetic eruptions, some of which create radio bursts. These long-wavelength bursts of energy can be detected by radio receivers on Earth. But first they must pass through the ionosphere, whose ever-changing characteristics affect whether and how these signals make it to the receiver.

The RadioJOVE project is a team of citizen scientists dedicated to documenting radio signals from space, especially Jupiter. During the total solar eclipse, RadioJOVE participants will focus on the Sun. Using radio antenna kits they set up themselves, they'll record solar radio bursts before, during, and after the eclipse.

During the 2017 eclipse, some participants recorded a reduced intensity of solar radio bursts. But more observations are needed to draw firm conclusions. “With better training and more observers, we’ll get better coverage to further study radio propagation through the ionosphere,” said Chuck Higgins, a professor at Middle Tennessee State University and founding member of RadioJOVE. “We hope to continue longer-term observations, through the Heliophysics Big Year and beyond.”

Find out more about the April 8, 2024, solar eclipse on NASA’s eclipse page.

TUESDAY EDITION: The dreaded tax day with the accountant this morning. I am all for a federal flat tax plan, pay for what you use, but that will never happen. The IRS would not want that, it sucks that you need to hire an accountant to figure out the tax laws....Matching: Matching Antennas to Feed Lines, Phasing Lines, and Power Dividers....Mass drivers are really this bad,,,,

Highlights from 2024 Orlando HamCation

Warm weather greeted the crowds of radio amateurs who attended the 2024 Orlando HamCation® from February 9 - 11. The convention hosted the ARRL Florida State Convention, but drew attendees from across the country, and some from even farther, renewing HamCation's place as the second largest US ham radio convention.

HamCation is sponsored by the Orlando Amateur Radio Club (OARC). The convention was sprawled out across the Central Florida Fairgrounds, including a huge outdoor tailgate and buildings filled with exhibitors and swap tables. The convention enjoys significant participation from amateur radio manufacturers, dealers, clubs, and organizations. In the months leading up to this year's convention, HamCation International Relations Co-Chairs, Lidy Meijers, KJ4LMM, and Peter Meijers, AI4KM, traveled to ham radio conventions across Europe to cast a spotlight on the convention. Their work paid off, garnering an attendance of amateurs from many other countries, and even attracting other international societies to exhibit, including the Radio Society of Great Britain, and the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (Germany).  

"It was very successful and very busy," said OARC President John Knott, N4JTK. "The vendors reported traffic at their booths was high and both the trunk fest and the flea market were busy." Knott also said that reservations filled 200 RV spaces.  

The East-West Hall included a row of booths organized by ARRL.  

In addition to supporting renewing members and those who joined ARRL for the first time, attendees also had the opportunity to meet ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR; CEO David Minster, NA2AA, and Southeastern Division Director Mickey Baker, N4MB. Baker also moderated the ARRL membership forum on Saturday afternoon. Together, Baker, Roderick, and Minster covered several key areas of membership interest. Roderick, who asked attendees to consider what they've done for amateur radio lately urged members to find opportunities to support new licensees and strengthen radio clubs.  

Minster spoke about a new, free ARRL membership offering for students 21 and younger that will be introduced soon. He also described ways that ARRL is increasing amateur radio's role in education through teachers, students, and schools. "ARRL knows that amateur radio is an effective tool in developing student experiences in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines," said Minster. "Our efforts to increase our outreach in education and other areas is playing a prominent role with the development of the new ARRL strategic plan."  

Also participating at HamCation was ARRL Education and Learning Manager Steve Goodgame, K5ATA. Goodgame presented a forum covering recent efforts and success stories to develop pathways for more teachers and students to use amateur radio in their classrooms. His wife and member-volunteer Cyndi Goodgame, K5CYN, who is also an educator, engaged dozens of young and prospective hams by collecting their experiences and interests for ARRL's ongoing work to increase outreach to students.  

A familiar face to many was ARRL National Instructor Gordon West, WB6NOA. In January, ARRL announced that it had become Gordon West's new publisher of his popular license preparation books. "There was a steady stream of visitors that included recent licensees and instructors who enjoyed an eyeball with Gordo," said Goodgame. HamCation attendees were also drawn to the ARRL booths to meet West. He was introduced as ARRL National Instructor at the membership forum. On Saturday night, HamCation recognized Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, and his wife Anita, AB1QB, awarding them with the 2024 Gordon West Ambassador of the Year Award.

The ARRL team also included Great Lakes Division Vice Director Roy Hook, W8REH; Northern Florida Section Manager Scott Roberts, KK4ECR and Section Emergency Coordinator Arc J. Thames, W4CPD; West Central Florida Section Manager Mike Douglas, W4MDD; Collegiate Amateur Radio Program Advisor Andy Milluzzi, KK4LWR; Maxim Society Member Holly Roderick; Honorary Vice President Frank Butler, W4RH; Assistant Member Services Manager Kim McNeill, KM1IPA; Director of Marketing and Innovation Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, and many DXCC card checkers, including: N2MFT, K3GO, K4SV, AG4W, KS4WA, KX4TT, K6ND, WA6POZ, W8BLA. ARRL also recognized member-volunteers Sloan Davis, N3UPS, and Tom Gaines, KB5FHK, for their help organizing satellite operating demonstrations.  

Reminds me of the shortt version of big Bob- SK N1WBD

MONDAY EDITION: With the repeater down and waiting for the antenna and hardline to arrive, we will pull out the duplexers and send them out for a retune and reorganize the repeaters and duplexers into a new cabinet up at the site this week.....Barrie Angland might live in Palmerston North, but as Cyclone Gabrielle ripped through the East Coast early last year, he too got swept up in the disaster. He is an amateur radio operator, and for a couple of years he'd been talking to Mike, a fellow operator just outside Gisborne. When Barrie saw a satellite photo of the cyclone coming towards Mike, he checked in. The morning after the storm, Mike needed to get a message out, to his daughter in the UK. "So what are you going to do? Stand there and wait for someone to tell you do something or do it? So you do it." Suddenly, one message became many, as those stuck in Gisborne found out Mike could get messages out through Barrie. "The first ones were this desperation to tell their fathers or mothers or daughters that 'hey, I'm okay," said Angland. The communication went both ways, as people from around the world sought Barrie to send messages into Gisborne.  LINK

Wicker bill removes roadblocks for amateur radio operators

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) recently unveiled bipartisan legislation that would smooth approval processes for amateur radio operators who provide important information to their communities, especially during emergencies.  

“Because communication during natural disasters is often hindered, we should be making every attempt to give folks more options. Reliable access can make the difference between life and death in an emergency,” Sen. Wicker said.

The senator introduced the Amateur Radio Preparedness Act, S. 3690, on Jan. 30 along with original cosponsor U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). 

According to a summary of the bill, the legislation would prohibit homeowner association rules that prevent or ban amateur radio antennas on residential properties, clarify the approval process for installing amateur radio antennas, and give amateur radio operators a private right of action.

“Our legislation removes roadblocks for amateur radio operators looking to help their friends, families, and neighbors,” Sen. Wicker said.

The bill has been endorsed by the Amateur Radio Relay League.

“Our measure will help clarify the rules so ham radio enthusiasts can successfully continue their communications,” Sen. Blumenthal added.

NASA explains how it would alert the public of an apocalyptic asteroid strike

If an asteroid that size hit Earth today, a shock wave two million times more powerful than a hydrogen bomb would flatten forests and trigger tsunamis. A seismic pulse equal to a magnitude 10 earthquake would crumble cities. And long after the impact, a cloud of hot dust, ash, and steam would blot out the sun, plunging the Earth into freezing cold.

An artists depiction of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs

But at least we'd probably know it was coming ahead of time. And if NASA has anything to say about it, we may even be able to prevent the apocalypse.

NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office is tasked with finding, tracking, and assessing the risk associated with potentially hazardous asteroids in our solar system.

“We definitely want to find all those before they find us,” said Lindley Johnson, Lead Program Executive for the Planetary Defense Coordination Office.

To do that, NASA works with a global coalition of astronomers called the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN).

Here’s what they would do if an apocalyptic asteroid strike was headed toward Earth.

An international warning system

In the event that a dangerous asteroid is headed toward Earth, IAWN has procedures in place to notify the public.

First, the party members who detected the threat would share their observations across the IAWN network to verify their findings and assess the danger.

Once all parties agree that Earth should brace for impact, NASA would send out an alert.

“I don’t have a red phone on my desk or anything,” Johnson said. “But we do have formal procedures by which notification of a serious impact would be provided.”

If the asteroid was headed toward the US, NASA would notify the White House, and the government would release a formal statement to the public. If it was big enough to pose an international threat, IAWN would notify the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs.

Hunting for asteroids

An asteroid is considered “potentially hazardous” if it is larger than roughly 460 feet across and intersects Earth’s orbit at a minimum distance of 0.5 astronomical units, which is half the distance between Earth and the sun.

There are about 2,300 known potentially hazardous asteroids out there, and roughly 153 of them are larger than 0.6 miles across. That’s big enough to trigger a catastrophe if one struck Earth.

To find and track them, NASA and the other IAWN partners look for new asteroids in addition to tracking ones that have already been discovered. All their observations get compiled into a database at the Minor Planet Center.

So far, IAWN has found over 34,000 near-Earth asteroids. With enough observational data, NASA can confidently predict their orbits at least a century into the future, Johnson said.

There’s a slim chance that the potentially hazardous Bennu asteroid could hit Earth in 159 years, triggering an explosion equal to 24 nuclear bombs. But the odds of that happening are only about one in 2,700, according to a 2021 study.

If Bennu does head toward Earth, NASA has a few tricks up its sleeve to defend our planet.

Defending Earth

Most of the time, IAWN catches oncoming asteroids long before they become an immediate threat to Earth, according to Johnson. But NASA would need at least five to 10 years of advanced notice to prevent the apocalypse from an approaching asteroid.

In 2021, NASA launched its first planetary defense test mission. It rammed an uncrewed spacecraft into an asteroid to shift its orbit away from Earth.

The mission was a success, and NASA plans to test more deflection techniques in the future. A developing “gravity tractor” technique would send a spacecraft to stay in position next to the asteroid and allow the gravitational interaction to pull the asteroid out of its orbit. NASA is also working on a technique that uses an ion beam to shift an asteroid's course.

But if the threat was coming in less than five years, NASA wouldn’t have time to deflect the asteroid. Then, it might resort to destruction to minimize and disperse the impact.

If NASA only had a few months of warning, then there’s not much it could do to save Earth.

Thankfully, IAWN’s strategy is to find asteroids decades, if not centuries, before the impact.

WEEKEND EDITION: Don't you hate it when some goof is running a kilowatt and leaves his vox on while the dog (or wife) is barking in the background or he has a cough and wheeze that won't stop.....

When the artist doesn't know anything about ham radio gear...

Highlights from 2024 Orlando HamCation

Warm weather greeted the crowds of radio amateurs who attended the 2024 Orlando HamCation® from February 9 - 11. The convention hosted the ARRL Florida State Convention, but drew attendees from across the country, and some from even farther, renewing HamCation's place as the second largest US ham radio convention.

HamCation is sponsored by the Orlando Amateur Radio Club (OARC). The convention was sprawled out across the Central Florida Fairgrounds, including a huge outdoor tailgate and buildings filled with exhibitors and swap tables. The convention enjoys significant participation from amateur radio manufacturers, dealers, clubs, and organizations. In the months leading up to this year's convention, HamCation International Relations Co-Chairs, Lidy Meijers, KJ4LMM, and Peter Meijers, AI4KM, traveled to ham radio conventions across Europe to cast a spotlight on the convention. Their work paid off, garnering an attendance of amateurs from many other countries, and even attracting other international societies to exhibit, including the Radio Society of Great Britain, and the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (Germany).  

"It was very successful and very busy," said OARC President John Knott, N4JTK. "The vendors reported traffic at their booths was high and both the trunk fest and the flea market were busy." Knott also said that reservations filled 200 RV spaces.  

The East-West Hall included a row of booths organized by ARRL.  

In addition to supporting renewing members and those who joined ARRL for the first time, attendees also had the opportunity to meet ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR; CEO David Minster, NA2AA, and Southeastern Division Director Mickey Baker, N4MB. Baker also moderated the ARRL membership forum on Saturday afternoon. Together, Baker, Roderick, and Minster covered several key areas of membership interest. Roderick, who asked attendees to consider what they've done for amateur radio lately urged members to find opportunities to support new licensees and strengthen radio clubs.  

Minster spoke about a new, free ARRL membership offering for students 21 and younger that will be introduced soon. He also described ways that ARRL is increasing amateur radio's role in education through teachers, students, and schools. "ARRL knows that amateur radio is an effective tool in developing student experiences in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines," said Minster. "Our efforts to increase our outreach in education and other areas is playing a prominent role with the development of the new ARRL strategic plan."  

Also participating at HamCation was ARRL Education and Learning Manager Steve Goodgame, K5ATA. Goodgame presented a forum covering recent efforts and success stories to develop pathways for more teachers and students to use amateur radio in their classrooms. His wife and member-volunteer Cyndi Goodgame, K5CYN, who is also an educator, engaged dozens of young and prospective hams by collecting their experiences and interests for ARRL's ongoing work to increase outreach to students.  

A familiar face to many was ARRL National Instructor Gordon West, WB6NOA. In January, ARRL announced that it had become Gordon West's new publisher of his popular license preparation books. "There was a steady stream of visitors that included recent licensees and instructors who enjoyed an eyeball with Gordo," said Goodgame. HamCation attendees were also drawn to the ARRL booths to meet West. He was introduced as ARRL National Instructor at the membership forum. On Saturday night, HamCation recognized Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, and his wife Anita, AB1QB, awarding them with the 2024 Gordon West Ambassador of the Year Award.

The ARRL team also included Great Lakes Division Vice Director Roy Hook, W8REH; Northern Florida Section Manager Scott Roberts, KK4ECR and Section Emergency Coordinator Arc J. Thames, W4CPD; West Central Florida Section Manager Mike Douglas, W4MDD; Collegiate Amateur Radio Program Advisor Andy Milluzzi, KK4LWR; Maxim Society Member Holly Roderick; Honorary Vice President Frank Butler, W4RH; Assistant Member Services Manager Kim McNeill, KM1IPA; Director of Marketing and Innovation Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, and many DXCC card checkers, including: N2MFT, K3GO, K4SV, AG4W, KS4WA, KX4TT, K6ND, WA6POZ, W8BLA. ARRL also recognized member-volunteers Sloan Davis, N3UPS, and Tom Gaines, KB5FHK, for their help organizing satellite operating demonstrations.  

Visit the ARRL Facebook page to see a photo album from the convention.

Amateur Radio Newsline Report

PROPOSED LAW WOULD PROTECT HAM ANTENNAS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

PAUL/ANCHOR: We begin this week in South Carolina, where hams are planning to rally on the 21st of February for a bill that would remove private land restrictions for some amateur radio antennas. This is one state of many throughout the US where such restrictions are a paramount concern. Kevin Trotman N5PRE has that report.

KEVIN: A rally is planned at the State House in Columbia, South Carolina, as a show of support for the Amateur Radio Antenna Protection act, which eight Republican lawmakers are introducing into session that day. The bill is designed to ensure amateur radio operators' rights to install antennas that let them get on the air effectively. According to an email sent to amateurs in the state from E. Gordon Mooneyhan, W4EGM, of the ARRL's South Carolina Section, a strong presence by radio operators will go a long way toward making several points in favor of the measure's passage. Calling ham radio a [quote] "incubator for education, exploration and experimentation within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields," Gordon also noted that active hams have provided some 6,000 hours of volunteer community service during the past two years. He said that although most log periodic antennas and satellites used for TV reception over the air are more obtrusive, Homeowners Associations, or HOAs, have imposed restrictions that bar even the simplest amateur radio antennas, providing an obstacle to short- and long-range emergency communications.

The widespread concern about HOAs and amateur radio in many states throughout the US has led to introduction of the Amateur Radio Parity Act, which would provide antenna protection on the federal level. The US Congress has not yet acted on the bill, which is opposed by many HOAs.

This is Kevin Trotman N5PRE.

(E.GORDON MOONEYHAM, W4EGM; CONGRESS.GOV)

**
LAWMAKERS SEEK FEDERAL PROTECTION FOR HAM RADIO ANTENNAS

PAUL/ANCHOR: Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., a new effort to grant sweeping protection across the country was introduced in the US Senate. The bipartisan measure would mandate that private homeowners associations accept the installation of outdoor ham radio antennas. The Amateur Radio Emergency Preparedness Act of 2024 was presented by Senator Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat. The measure underscores the value of ham radio's lifesaving potential during natural disasters and other emergencies such as the hurricanes that are common in both of the sponsoring lawmakers' home states.

(WICKER.SENATE.GOV)

**

NEW LICENSE PROCEDURES TAKING EFFECT IN AUSTRALIA

PAUL/ANCHOR: A new way of handling and issuing amateur radio licenses is about to take effect in Australia. John Williams VK4JJW tells us what's changing - and what's not.

JOHN: A new era in amateur radio licences dawns in Australia on the 19th of February as the Australian Communications and Media Authority implements the new Class Licence arrangements. The transition from apparatus licences requires no action for most hams but holders of recently renewed amateur apparatus licences may be eligible for a pro-rated refund upon surrender of those licences. The changes include the administration of examination services by the ACMA and a new accreditation process for examiners that is intended to increase the availability of assessors to those wishing to sit the exams. That process includes working with volunteer assessors who previously supported from the Australian Maritime College to bring them on board with the new ACMA arrangements. The college's services to the ACMA do not extend past the 18th of February.

The Overseas Amateurs Visiting Australia Class Licence is to be available to those amateurs whose licence is conformant with the HAREC standard under CEPT arrangements. Operators from overseas whose licences are not HAREC compliant may be eligible, upon application, to operate under an amateur class licence for 365 days if they meet certain qualifications.

The arrangements have been designed to minimise the cost of licences for ham radio operators and to reduce the regulatory burden on the ACMA. Repeater and beacon licensing remains unchanged as apparatus licences.

This is John Williams VK4JJW.

(ACMA, WIA)

**
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY SEEKS HAM INPUT ON PROPOSED SATELLITE PAYLOAD

PAUL/ANCHOR: Satellite partners in Europe will soon be reaching out to hams for suggestions for the next payload in geostationary orbit. We have those details from Jeremy Boot G4NJH.

JEREMY: The European Space Agency expects to engage in dialogue soon with amateur radio operators about a proposal for a geostationary satellite payload that would serve as a follow-up to QO-100. The ESA, the IARU and various members of the AMSAT community began pursuing the concept last year. At the recent FOSDEM 2024, held on the first weekend of February in Brussels, the ESA's Frank Zeppenfeldt, PDØAP, announced that ESA's satellite communications group is now actively seeking the ham community's input, especially from those operators familiar with SDRs.

The Es'hail-2/Qatar-QO-100 satellite was launched in November 2018, carrying the first amateur radio transponders to be in geostationary orbit.

This is Jeremy Boot G4NJH.

(AMATEUR RADIO DAILY, FOSDEM)

**
LIFETIME AWARD FOR 50 YEARS OF RADIO COMMITMENT

PAUL/ANCHOR: Congratulations to Jose [PRON: JOES] Jacob, VU2JOS, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the North Bengal Amateur Radio Society for 50 years of involvement in radio that included broadcast DXing and later, amateur radio. The award was presented to him on the 13th of February, which was World Radio Day. Licensed since 1985, he has participated in nearly a dozen DXpeditions by the National Institute of Amateur Radio.

(NORTH BENGAL AMATEUR RADIO SOCIETY, QRZ.COM)

**
SILENT KEY: CQ DX HALL OF FAMER BOB ALLPHIN, K4UEE

PAUL/ANCHOR: An accomplished DXpeditioner and veteran contester has become a Silent Key. We hear about him from Jack Parker W8ISH.

JACK: When it came to contesting or participating in DXpeditions, Bob Allphin [PRON: ALL FIN], KN4UEE, could often be found at the center of activity. He had been involved in DXpeditions that traveled to most of the DXCC top 10 most wanted locations. He was also a CQ DX Hall of Famer and a competitor in two World Radiosport Championships.

Bob became a Silent Key on the 10th of February at his home in Georgia of kidney failure and Merkle Cell carcinoma.

According to a posting on DX World, Bob's participation in 10 major DXpeditions over the years helped the team log more than 1.25 million QSOS, many of them from rare locations. He was also an avid contester, qualifying for the WRTC events in 1996 and 2000. Thirty-eight of his Dxpeditions during the mid-80s and into the early 200s were for contesting. He also held the callsign VU3RQA and was a member of the VU7RG Lakshadweep DXpedition organized by the National Institute of Amateur Radio in India.

Bob was a member of the First CLass Operators Club and the Southeastern DX Club Hall of Fame. At the time of his death Bob served as president of the KP1-5 Project, which advocates for the use by amateur radio of the environmentally sensitive Navassa and Desecheo islands by coordinating efforts with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Bob was 79.

This is Jack Parker W8ISH.

(DX-WORLD)

**
SILENT KEY: DMR's TGIF FOUNDER MITCH SAVAGE, EA7KDO

PAUL/ANCHOR: One of the founders of the DMR Network known as TGIF has become a Silent Key. A notice posted on the network website reports that Mitch Savage, EA7KDO, died on the 6th of February. No other details were given. The TGIF net that was held on Friday, February 9th was dedicated to him.

Mitch wrote on his page on QRZ.com that he got his amateur radio license in 1964 and was an active ham, gravitating into digital radio starting in 2016. He was most active on DMR, Fusion D-Star, P25, NXDN and WiresX. He relocated to Spain from Texas in 2017 and in October 2018 he became one of the founding fathers of the TGIF Network, which grew out of a net the group originally held on a Brandmeister Talk Group.

A message on the TGIF site said: [quote] "Mitch leaves behind a remarkable contribution to ham radio and beyond." [endquote]

**
HIGH MARKS FOR PROTOTYPE ANTENNA SYSTEM AND SATELLITES

PAUL/ANCHOR: An antenna system has received high marks for its ability to communicate with large numbers of satellites around the clock. Dave Parks WB8ODF gives us those details.

DAVE: Tests of a digital phased array antenna system in Fairbanks, Alaska, showed it to be capable of handling more than 300 satellite contacts daily - and doing it around the clock, according to the company that developed it. In reporting the results on the 7th of February of its three months of testing, L3Harris Technologies said that the prototype system also demonstrated the ability to handle as many as eight contacts at the same time.

L3Harris senior scientist Brian Haman later issued a statement saying that the company was very pleased with the results.

L3Harris has said that this kind of technology will prove especially useful in helping to achieve simultaneous horizon-to-horizon communications. It is also able to reduce any RFI it locates. L3Harris developed the array in response to government and commercial customers' needs to reach constellations in different orbital planes as well as large constellations in low-Earth orbit.

The research and development was done in agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Satellite and Information Service to develop a means of collecting data from an increasing number of satellites in a cost-effective way.

This is Dave Parks WB8ODF.

(SPACENEWS.COM)

**
SIMPLEX RADIO NET SEEN AS SAFETY NET IN HAWAII

PAUL/ANCHOR: Amateurs in Hawaii are rediscovering the power of simplex, especially when they need to rely on making connections in an emergency. Graham Kemp VK4BB tells us how they're accomplishing this.

GRAHAM: It's just for practice - and it's just for fellowship too - but a monthly meetup of hams on the Hawaiian island of Oahu holds greater potential than just the regular check-ins and discussions of local news events. This is the Leeward Simplex Radio Net and it grew from a ragchew into a net after the radio operators realized their on-air activity presented a great opportunity to keep the community, county and state connected during a crisis on the island without relying on repeaters. Stacy Holbrook, KH6OWL, one of the net control operators, told Newsline that during a recent impromptu Friday night net, one station made a 26-mile contact to the north shore of the island - an important connection that could prove vital in passing traffic and information in emergencies.

The next Leeward simplex net will be held on Friday, the 23rd of February. Stacy and the other net control operators, Todd, KH6TOD, and Allan, WH6GRO, are hoping to see the number of participants grow so everyone is prepared in an emergency.

The hams believe in simplex so much that they participate in a separate net using WINLINK to send emails or messages from their computers over the radio digitally without relying on external power or the internet. The next scheduled simplex WINLINK net will be on Sunday, February 18th and the operators will practice sending safe-at-home messages.

Stacy told Newsline that these small nets play a big role in making this island more resilient. He said that a heavily populated place like Hawaii, with such an isolated location in the middle of the Pacific, must always be prepared.

This is Graham Kemp VK4BB.

(STACY HOLBROOK KH6OWL)

**
W. VIRGINIA FIRST RESPONDERS ORGANIZE NEW HAM CLUB

PAUL/ANCHOR: Sometimes an emergency response plan isn't complete without amateur radio. Recognizing this, a number of first-responders in West Virginia are looking to change things. Patrick Clark K8TAC has that report.

PATRICK: When emergencies happen, the Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Upshur County Community Emergency Response Team are at the ready. Now, however, they're looking to become even more responsive by adding amateur radio to their resources. The groups recently announced a new effort to create a club that would include amateur radio operators and others with an interest in ham radio. In an announcement made jointly on social media, they opened the door to anyone living in Upshur and surrounding counties. The group's first meeting will be held on the 21st of February at the Buckhannon Public Safety Complex. An amateur radio license is not required to join the new club, which will provide classes, hold public events and provide training in emergency communications. The club organizers hope to affiliate eventually with the ARRL and Amateur Radio Emergency Services.

This is Patrick Clark K8TAC.

(FACEBOOK)

**

WORLD OF DX

In the World of DX, be listening for Bernard, DL2GAC, who is operating as H44MS in the Solomon Islands until the end of April. He is on HF, using SSB and FT8. QSL via Club Log's OQRS.

Listen for Borut, S53BV, on the air holiday style as 5R8BV from Nosy Be, IOTA Number AF-057, Madagascar, from the 17th of February until the 3rd of March. He is operating on 80 and 40 metres using CW and SSB. QSL via Club Log's OQRS, or direct to home call.

David, OK6DJ, will be on the air from the 20th to the 27th of February from Mauritius Island, IOTA Number AF-049. He is using the callsign 3B8/OK6DJ. QSL via Club Log's OQRS.

Listen for Sylvia, OM4AYL, who is on Pemba Island, IOTA Number AF-063, Tanzania, using the callsign 5H4AYL. Sylvia will be on the air from the 18th to the 28th of February on 80 through 10 metres using SSB, CW and FT8. For QSL details visit QRZ.com.

(425 DX BULLETIN)

**
HAMS TEST ORIGINAL VOICE MODE IN AM RALLY

PAUL/ANCHOR: We end this week by sharing an event the evokes nostalgia - and good warm sound on the air. If you took part in this year's AM Rally, the annual celebration of the original ham radio voice mode, you were not alone, as we hear from Sel Embee KB3TZD.

SEL: There was a strong showing among hams who took part in the operating event known as the AM Rally on February 3rd through the 5th. For some operators, it celebrated the special fondness they have for the voice mode that predates single sideband. Other operators were curious to see how their homebrew, tube, military or modern rigs would perform and many ended up making their first AM contacts.

Organizers said weekend participation was strong on 20, 40 and 75 metres. Clark N1BCG, one of the organizers, said he heard one AM contact from the UK on 10 metres. Extra excitement was generated by the participation of W1AW, the station at the headquarters of the ARRL in Connecticut.

Hams were encouraged to log contacts but it wasn't required. Friendly ragchew and good memories were, of course, mandatory.



FRIDAY EDITION: 2 inches of powder this morning, looks pretty out. It is nice to be able clear the steps and deck with a leaf blower....

Sometimes you wonder where some of the Ebay items come from...

Errata to the 2024 - 2028 Amateur Extra-Class Question Pool Released..

The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) Question Pool Committee (QPC) has released errata for the new 2024 - 2028 Element 4 Extra Class Question Pool, which goes into effect on July 1. The errata includes minor question changes, the removal of one question, and one modified graphic. These updates are reflected in the new downloadable files, dated January 31, 2024. The ARRL VEC advises the community to regularly check the NCVEC website at https://www.ncvec.org/ for updates to the question pools. Submit feedback or questions to the Question Pool Committee.

RACOON Winter Field Day

Bill Drury, president of the RACOON club (Radio Amateur Club of Oneida Neighbors), planned for a full 24 hours on site at this winter’s Field Day on Saturday.  As of Saturday night, his heater new equipment trailer’s heater was going full blast and his sleeping bag was ready for deployment but he was happy to note that things had gone well so far.  Everyone on hand, including his wife Tracy, Brenda and Don Daniels, Jim Mustos, and Bret Anderson were also happy to mention that the weather was much less of a problem than it had been during the very snowy winter of last year.  During the course of the 24 hour field day, many other member of the RACOONs spent time at the operations center in Malad’s City Park.

The main trailer was equipped with an array of communication devices and displays, as well as a very important heater.  A new addition for this year’s test was Drury’s mobile communication trailer, which operates on a generator and allows for easy mobile relocation to wherever a radio support setup might be needed.

“It snowed then thawed then iced over again, which wasn’t ideal.  This year, it’s been great though!” Bret Anderson said.  Anderson is a member of both the RACOONs and the Golden Spike Club who generally mans the main communication trailer.  The Winter Field day take place in Malad, and a field day later in the year is held in Utah.  “We’ve had a very productive afternoon so far,” RACOON member Don Daniels said, finishing a cup of soup cooked on site as Bret dialed in a short wave station broadcasting music and Jim Mustos and Manuel Mello listened in.  

The RACOONs currently have around 35 members, though not all of them were available during the field day.  “In this crazy art, there are all kinds of setups and equipment that different people use, from handhelds up to more elaborate setups.  Some people just use the handhelds and that’s just great.”  Drury refers to amateur radio communication as an art, because “everyone uses their equipment in different ways.  An individual setup is a lot like an artist putting together their material.”

While the club itself is relatively small compared to some of the larger network areas in population centers like Texas, Florida, California and elsewhere, the members of the club had already established almost 400 contacts by late Saturday afternoon after a 12:00 noon start.  The ARRL (The American Radio Relay League)  runs a contest to determine which club can contact the largest number of people.  The RACOONS aren’t likely to get that largest number of contacts, but given their size, their high number of contacts “give us bragging rights.  For a club of about 35, we can say ‘look, we got all these contacts with just this many of us—how many did you get?’”

The ARRL is an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) that essentially oversees a system whereby amateur radio clubs monitor and police its own membership.  There are not usually “bad actors,” so to speak, but there are actions that can result in violations.  “It’s usually not a club like us that gets into those issues.  It’s usually someone who just buys some equipment and jumps in.”  violations primarily involve using bands that the operator isn’t licensed to use.  In cases where a club can intervene, they make the operator aware of the violation, which means that the FCC doesn’t get involved.  “Most people would be happier to get a message from the radio club than a knock at the door from someone in the government.”

The RACOONs have recently been donated a hand-crafted bell by local artist Doug Adams, which they intend to raffle off to raise funds for the club.  The club is always in need of new equipment, as well as equipment upgrades and infrastructure.  Its existence is a huge help to the county, especially in the support of emergency communication services.  During times when the standard emergency communication networks are down due to weather, natural disaster, power outage, or unexpected events, the RACOONs can mobilize quickly to establish a communication network that will allow emergency and governmental agencies to communicate and coordinate responses throughout the county.  The club also helps provide support and communication during events such as the Gran Fondo bike race that makes its way through town during the summer.

“My wife and I got into this because we ride our horses out and a lot of times cell phones stop working.  But we can reach repeaters with our handheld radios.  There have been a lot of people who’ve said ‘that’s neat!  I never thought of doing that before.’  So, there’s a lot you can do with this technology,” Drury said.

As the evening drew on, the club continued to find contacts across the United States and Canada.  As the night progresses, the area in which contact points can be made will shift with the sun.  The event is scheduled to last a full twenty-four hours, which will put the contacts back in the same place as when the club started on Saturday.  

“This is mostly a chance for us to test out the equipment.  We can see what’s working and what isn’t, and know how things will run when we have an unplanned event,” Drury said.  Over the course of the full day, members will cycle in and out of the operation area, though Drury and Anderson planned to stay on site for the duration.  “It’s great,” Anderson said.  “You gotta love doing this!  And it’s very helpful that the city lets us commandeer this park for a day so that we can.  In a lot of places it isn’t this easy, so Malad is always great.”

Details about the bell raffle will be finalized at this week’s club meeting, and when those details are available, the Enterprise will provide them to the community so that it can support a valuable safety and emergency preparedness resource that benefits
everyone.  

 

THURSDAY EDITION: A cold start here on the island, but no snow!....I oredered the new antenna and 200 feet of 7/8 hardline, connectors, mounting brackets, etc. for the repeater overhaul. It was over $6000 for the stuff with shipping from CA. The antenna is built upon order and the wait is about 4 weeks.....

A ham with a sense of humor...

Senators Roger Wicker and Richard Blumenthal Introduce S.3690 to Eliminate Private Land Use Restrictions on Amateur Radio

On January 30, 2024, US Senators Roger Wicker (MS) and Richard Blumenthal (CT) introduced S.3690, the Senate companion bill to H.R.4006, introduced last June. Both bills reflect the Congressional campaign efforts by ARRL  The National Association for Amateur Radio® to eliminate homeowner association land use restrictions that prohibit, restrict, or impair the ability of an Amateur Radio Operator to install and operate amateur station antennas on residential properties they own.

Amateur Radio Operators repeatedly are relied upon to provide essential communications when disaster strikes, but their ability to do so is being impaired by the exponential growth of residential private land use restrictions that hinder their ability to establish stations in their homes with which to train and provide emergency communications when called upon.

In announcing the introduction of S.3690, Senator Wicker said: “Because communication during natural disasters is often hindered, we should be making every attempt to give folks more options. Reliable access can make the difference between life and death in an emergency. Our legislation removes roadblocks for amateur radio operators looking to help their friends, families, and neighbors.”

In a similar announcement, Senator Blumenthal stated: “Our measure will help clarify the rules so ham radio enthusiasts can successfully continue their communications. In the face of emergency or crisis, they help provide vital, life-saving information that allow listeners to properly and safely respond, but prohibitive home association rules and confusing approval processes for installing antennas have been an unnecessary impediment. The Amateur Radio Emergency Preparedness Act resolves these bottlenecks and ensures that radio operators can function successfully.”

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, and Director John Robert Stratton, N5AUS, Chair of the ARRL’s Government Affairs Committee, both extended on behalf of ARRL, its Members, and the Amateur Radio community their thanks and appreciation for the leadership of Senator Wicker and Senator Blumenthal in their continuing efforts to support and protect the rights of all Amateur Radio Operators.

Solar Radiation Storm Causing Massive Enduring Radio Blackout

olar storm that has been roiling in the Earth's atmosphere for three days has led to a polar cap absorption event (PCA), wiping out radio communications near the North and South poles.

The storm was triggered by a solar flare that spat out from the sun's surface on Monday, which led to radio blackouts across the Arctic Circle. Two days later, the storm is still affecting radio frequencies below 35 megahertz because of the PCA, with those beneath 15 MHz almost completely blacked out.

Solar flares are caused by the rearrangement of tangled magnetic fields on the sun's surface, leading to a sudden burst of X-rays from our solar system's star. If this radiation is aimed at the Earth, it can ionize the ionosphere layer of the atmosphere, causing solar storms and radio blackouts. Solar flares are classed on a scale of A, B, C, M and X, with X the most powerful and most uncommon.

Radio communications rely on the ionosphere to bounce signals between the sender and the receiver, meaning that if this layer is ionized, it causes radio signals to be absorbed instead, leading to signal degradation.

"Solar flares affect the normal operating conditions for high-frequency radio waves over long distances by affecting their refraction via the upper layers of the ionosphere," Rami Qahwaji, a visual computing professor and space weather researcher at the U.K.'s University of Bradford, told Newsweek.

"When an M-class or X-class flare occurs, ionization could be produced in the lower and more dense layers of the ionosphere, the D-layer," he continued. "This ionization can cause radio waves that interact with electrons to lose energy due to the more frequent collisions that occur in the higher-density environment of the D-layer.

"This could lead to HF radio signals to become degraded or completely absorbed, resulting in the absence of HF communication, primarily impacting the 3 to 30 MHz band [for a radio blackout]," Qahwaji said.

The radiation storm was classified as just below an S2 on Monday when it first hit the Earth but is now a minor S1 class. S2-class solar radiation storms can cause increased radiation risk to passengers and crew in high-flying aircraft, as well as problems with satellites and radio blackouts, while S1-class events usually lead to only mild radio trouble at the poles.

PCAs are a side effect of solar storms and are caused by protons being accelerated by the solar flare along the Earth's magnetosphere, slamming into the ionosphere at the poles and ionizing it. These events can last several days after a solar flare hits the Earth and can cause problems for flights crossing the poles.

The South Pole is most affected by this PCA, as the Earth's tilt means that the Southern Hemisphere is more tilted into the radiation storm.

The solar storm is subsiding, but the PCA may last for several more days.

Events like this may become more common this year as the sun approaches its solar maximum, which is the period of its 11-year solar cycle where it experiences the most sunspots and therefore the most solar weather. There are usually only 50 S1 storms per solar cycle, and about 25 S2 storms, with S3, S4 and S5 even more rare.

 

WEDNESDAY EDITION: Ebay day at the club this morning, every Wednesday. I think we have an external vfo for the Kenwood 530/830 series and a Icom 735 ready to go on the block...Last week we sold the matching scope and tuner and got over $350...

When Li Ion batteries get warm they maybe overcharging and getting ready to explode. An exploding Li Ion cell is like an Estes Rocket Motor, very hard to handle and extinguish. Here is a simple way to stop over-charging your batteries. It uses an inexpensive temperature controller available on eBay. There are several available. Bayite  TCF-3A017 (https://www.ebay.com/itm/173557719280). This controller cuts the charging power off when it reaches a set point. I have mine set for +80F.  I put the heat sensor on the battery case when charging. If +80F is reached the controller turns the charging power off. 

Guglielmo Marconi: The Father of Radio and His Lasting Legacy

Guglielmo Marconi's invention of radio transformed communication. This article delves into Marconi's life, inventions, and lasting impact on technology. Discover how his work laid the foundation for modern communication systems

Guglielmo Marconi, the father of radio, made history on December 12, 1901, when he successfully received a Morse code signal for the letter S sent from a telegraph station in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. This breakthrough marked a significant milestone in the history of radio communication. As we celebrate UNESCO World Radio Day, let's delve into Marconi's life, inventions, and contributions to the development of radio technology.

The Life and Inventions of Guglielmo Marconi

Born in Bologna, Italy, in 1874, Marconi was fascinated by science and technology from an early age. He conducted his first experiments in wireless communication in the attic of his family home, using a simple telegraph instrument. In 1896, at the age of 22, Marconi filed a patent for his invention of a system of wireless telegraphy, which would later become known as radio.

Marconi's early experiments in wireless communication involved sending signals over short distances. However, he was determined to prove that his technology could be used to transmit messages across vast expanses of water, such as the Atlantic Ocean. In 1901, Marconi established a wireless telegraphy station in Cornwall, England, and another in Newfoundland, Canada. On December 12, 1901, Marconi successfully received a signal sent from the Newfoundland station, marking the first transatlantic wireless communication.

Marconi's invention of radio was not without controversy. Nikola Tesla, another pioneer in the field of electrical engineering, claimed that he had developed a system of wireless communication before Marconi. The debate over who invented radio continues to this day. However, there is no denying the significant impact that Marconi's discoveries have had on modern technology.

Today, Marconi is remembered as the father of radio, and his contributions to the development of wireless communication are celebrated around the world. The Admiralty House Communications Museum in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland is launching a digital exhibit about Marconi's life and impact on the province and society. Funded by Digital Museums Canada, the exhibit highlights the evolution of communications technology and features interviews with people involved in the province's communications history.

As we celebrate UNESCO World Radio Day, let's take a moment to appreciate the value of radio as a channel of information and culture. Marconi's invention of radio has transformed the way we communicate, connect, and share information. His legacy continues to inspire new generations of innovators and pioneers in the field of technology.

Did you know?

  • Marconi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909, sharing it with Ferdinand Braun.
  • Marconi's wireless technology was used to transmit the first news report from the North Pole in 1909.
  • Marconi's company was instrumental in the development of radio broadcasting in the 1920s.
  • Marconi's wireless technology played a crucial role in the development of radar during World War II.
  • Marconi's work inspired other inventors, such as Lee de Forest, who developed the vacuum tube, and Edwin Armstrong, who invented FM radio.
  • Marconi's company was nationalized by the British government in 1940, during World War II.
  • Marconi's company was privatized again in 1999, and is now known as Marconi Corporation plc.
  • Marconi's name is still used today in the field of wireless communication, such as the Marconi Prize, which is awarded for achievements in communications and information technology.
  • Marconi's legacy continues to inspire new generations of innovators and pioneers in the field of technology.

In conclusion, Guglielmo Marconi's invention of radio has had a profound impact on the world, transforming the way we communicate and connect. His contributions to the development of wireless communication are celebrated around the world, and his legacy continues to inspire new generations of innovators and pioneers in the field of technology.

 

TUESDAY EDITION: It looks like we are going to miss what could have been a PITA storm, looks like 1-3 here on Cape Ann...Phil Temples, ARRL NE Division, spoke at our club on Saturday and did a nice job summing up what we need to kick start ham radio....These Sacramento Girl Scouts built a ham radio to talk to astronauts on the Space Station

I am hoping for a litter of 555 chips soon...

Wi-Fi jamming to knock out cameras suspected in nine Minnesota burglaries -- smart security systems vulnerable as tech becomes cheaper and easier to acquire

A serial burglar in Edina, Minnesota is suspected of using a Wi-Fi jammer to knock out connected security cameras before stealing and making off with the victim's prized possessions. Minnesota doesn’t generally have a reputation as a hotbed for technology, so readers shouldn’t be surprised to hear that reports of Wi-Fi jammers used to assist burglaries in the U.S. go back several years. PSA: even criminals use technology, and more are now catching on -- so homeowners should think about mitigations.

Edina police suspect that nine burglaries in the last six months have been undertaken with Wi-Fi jammer(s) deployed to ensure incriminating video evidence wasn’t available to investigators. The modus operandi of the thief or thieves is thought to be something like this:

  • Homes in affluent areas are found
  • Burglars carefully watch the homes
  • The burglars avoid confrontation, so appear to wait until homes are empty
  • Seizing the opportunity of an empty home, the burglars will deploy Wi-Fi jammer(s)
  • “Safes, jewelry, and other high-end designer items,” are usually taken

A security expert interviewed by the source publication, KARE11, explained that the jammers simply confused wireless devices rather than blocking signals. They usually work by overloading wireless traffic “so that real traffic cannot get through,” the news site was told.

Jamming wireless security devices is a growing trend

Searching back through news reports concerning burglaries where Wi-Fi jammers have / may have been used surfaces plenty of prior evidence of this practice. A Ring community post about one of the firm’s wireless doorbells missing a porch thief after being subjected to a Wi-Fi deauthentication attack was posted back in January 2020. It is also easy to find reports of burglars using Wi-Fi jamming technology over 2021, 2022, and 2023 – with reports becoming more frequent over time.  

We mention Ring as one of the firms that popularized video doorbells to solve multiple home security concerns, but other wireless smart home security products from Blink (Amazon) and Nest (Google) will also be vulnerable to wireless signal jamming.

Worryingly, Wi-Fi jamming is almost a trivial activity for potential thieves in 2024. KARE11 notes that it could buy jammers online very easily and cheaply, with prices ranging from $40 to $1,000. Jammers are not legal to use in the U.S. but they are very easy to buy online.

Before we go, there are a few suggestions given to those now wondering about the efficacy of their home security systems with wireless components. Firstly, physically connect some of the devices which allow for a wired connection and local storage of footage. Secondly, utilize smart home technology that makes it appear that someone is at home. Your device may also have the ability to send alerts when the signal / connection is interrupted, and playing with those settings might be worthwhile.

OpenAI CEO warns that ‘societal misalignments’ could make artificial intelligence dangerous

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The CEO of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI said Tuesday that the dangers that keep him awake at night regarding artificial intelligence are the “very subtle societal misalignments” that could make the systems wreak havoc.

Sam Altman, speaking at the World Governments Summit in Dubai via a video call, reiterated his call for a body like the International Atomic Energy Agency to be created to oversee AI that’s likely advancing faster than the world expects.

“There’s some things in there that are easy to imagine where things really go wrong. And I’m not that interested in the killer robots walking on the street direction of things going wrong,” Altman said. “I’m much more interested in the very subtle societal misalignments where we just have these systems out in society and through no particular ill intention, things just go horribly wrong.”

“We’re still in the stage of a lot of discussion. So there’s you know, everybody in the world is having a conference. Everyone’s got an idea, a policy paper, and that’s OK,” Altman said. “I think we’re still at a time where debate is needed and healthy, but at some point in the next few years, I think we have to move towards an action plan with real buy-in around the world.”

OpenAI, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence startup, is one of the leaders in the field. Microsoft has invested some $1 billion in OpenAI. The Associated Press has signed a deal with OpenAI for it to access its news archive. Meanwhile, The New York Times has sued OpenAI and Microsoft over the use of its stories without permission to train OpenAI’s chatbots.

OpenAI’s success has made Altman the public face for generative AI’s rapid commercialization — and the fears over what may come from the new technology.

The UAE, an autocratic federation of seven hereditarily ruled sheikhdoms, has signs of that risk. Speech remains tightly controlled. Those restrictions affect the flow of accurate information — the same details AI programs like ChatGPT rely on as machine-learning systems to provide their answers for users.

The Emirates also has the Abu Dhabi firm G42, overseen by the country’s powerful national security adviser. G42 has what experts suggest is the world’s leading Arabic-language artificial intelligence model. The company has faced spying allegations for its ties to a mobile phone app identified as spyware. It has also faced claims it could have gathered genetic material secretly from Americans for the Chinese government.

G42 has said it would cut ties to Chinese suppliers over American concerns. However, the discussion with Altman, moderated by the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence Omar al-Olama, touched on none of the local concerns.

For his part, Altman said he was heartened to see that schools, where teachers feared students would use AI to write papers, now embrace the technology as crucial for the future. But he added that AI remains in its infancy.

“I think the reason is the current technology that we have is like ... that very first cellphone with a black-and-white screen,” Altman said. “So give us some time. But I will say I think in a few more years it’ll be much better than it is now. And in a decade it should be pretty remarkable.”

 

MONDAY EDITION: Where were the white performers at halftime last night and what the hell is the black national anthem? I can't believe what is happening to this once proud nation ....What a mess we are leaving for our grandkids....

 
Having covered all the ham radio topics on the 3928 afternoon meeting on the 75 Bull net, the NE boys have started watching the live cams at the famous ELBO Room bar on the beach in FT. Lauderdale...it can become addictive....

Since its opening in 1938, through a 1956 rebuild, the Elbo Room has served as a dive-bar institution, a national Spring Break mecca, a clichéd punchline and a cultural touchstone, all of which will be celebrated on its 80th anniversary Friday-Sunday, Nov. 16-18, a weekend of music, bikini contests and drink specials.

Events kick off Friday with a special appearance by Connie Francis, the pop singer and one of the stars of the 1960 big-screen Spring Break romantic comedy “Where the Boys Are,” which made Fort Lauderdale a symbol of youthful hedonism for college students across the country. Of course, part of the film was shot in the Elbo Room. Clip from the movie.

The Elbo Room was established in 1938 and has been a Ft. Lauderdale landmark for sixty years.
The only thing separating the bar and the Atlantic Ocean is a two lane one way road. Due to its friendly atmosphere and desirable location, there is no secret to why this cozy watering hole has been extremely popular. It all began with the WW2 sailors in the 1940's, then the Spring Breakers from the fifties to the late eighties, and presently to anyone still reveling from the good ol' days to the Generation X crowd looking for a place where everyone knows their name.



The new hats are in!

WEEKEND EDITION: Phil Temple from the ARRL will be speaking at out club today at noon Saturday, all welcome...Nothing new here on Cape Ann except trying to figure out how we will raise $6000 to replace hardline and antenna from 100 members, most of who do not use the repeater....A video for you...

World Radio Day

World Radio Day 2024 will be on February 13, and this year's theme is, "A Century Informing, Entertaining and Educating."

World Radio Day was first celebrated in 2012, following its declaration by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference. It was subsequently adopted as an International Day by the United Nations General Assembly. Amateur radio is included in the celebration.  

The EA Digital Federation designates the day as AO#WRD: World Radio Day, and they will have nine special event stations on the air on February 9 - 18. The stations will be active on different bands and modes, including phone, CW, and digital. You can locate the stations through the DX cluster or the agenda of activity on their website.  

California Storms: Amateur Radio is Ready

Southern California continues to feel the effects of a significant rain event that began last week, bringing record rainfall, landslides, and hurricane-strength winds. The heavy rain is the result of two atmospheric rivers, referred to as "Pineapple Expresses" because of their origins near Hawaii. Nearly half a year's worth of rain has fallen in two days. Since Sunday, February 4, areas in Los Angeles County have seen nearly one foot of rain, which has now moved east into western Arizona, southern Nevada, and southwestern Utah, raising the risk of flash flooding in those areas.

ARRL Director of Emergency Management Josh Johnston, KE5MHV, has been in contact with Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) leadership from throughout the affected area. "ARES member-volunteers are ready to be pressed into service when called upon by one of their local served agencies," he said.  

The situation continues to evolve, Johnston has received several situation updates from ARES leaders.  

ARRL San Joaquin Valley (SJV) Section Emergency Coordinator Dan Sohn, WL7COO, wrote:  

The SJV Section is experiencing electrical power outages caused by high winds affecting tens of thousands of homes and businesses mostly in the westernmost, lower-elevation Central Valley counties and elevations at or above about 3,500 feet above sea level... The incoming atmospheric river appears to be moving more to the north than the last two storms, so we'll see what that brings the SJV counties that are already saturated... and [we] hope that it lessens the life-threatening, ongoing damage throughout southern California.  

Johnston also received this update from ARRL Nevada Section Emergency Coordinator John Abrott, KD7NHC:  

Here in northern Nevada, a varying amount of snow was received. I received reports from Carson City of 10 - 11, inches, and reports of 10 - 13 inches in Carson Valley and parts of Reno. There are several feet of snow at higher elevations. I have not received any reports of ARES members being activated. Several counties were requested to be ready in the event that their services were needed. Major roads are clear, but residential streets still have snow.  

ARES teams are ready when needed and will continue monitor the situations in California and affected neighboring states. Check ARRL News for the latest updates.

Amateur Radio Newsline Report

THIEVES DESTROY RADIO TOWER IN ALABAMA

JIM/ANCHOR: Our top story takes us to Alabama, where antenna and tower thieves have struck again at yet another broadcast property. Kent Peterson KCØDGY has that story.

KENT: Only weeks after a radio station in Oklahoma suffered the destruction of its tower and broadcast site by vandals in search of copper, an AM radio station in Alabama discovered that its 200-foot tower had gone missing overnight. General manager Brett Elmore of WJLX radio posted on various social media platforms on Friday, February 2nd that a worker doing landscape cleanup made the discovery that morning. He said the guy wires had been cut and the tower was gone. The station's transmitter was also stolen from the nearby building.

Unlike in the Oklahoma case, the targeted material was not copper but stainless steel. Jasper, Alabama police were investigating. The AM station, which is licensed to operate on 1240 kHz, has an FM translator that broadcasts on 101.5 MHz from a different site.

This is Kent Peterson KCØDGY.

(WVTM-TV, RADIO WORLD)

**
SILENT KEY: TOP DXER, CONTESTER SLAVKO CELARC, S57DX

JIM/ANCHOR: A top DXer and contester from Slovenia who was called a friend by many, has become a Silent Key. Slavko, S57DX, was being remembered on internet postings by friends everywhere and by those who logged contacts with him over the years. On DXSummit, many of those hams were spotting his callsign for the final time on 14 MHz, with the message "RIP." The first such posting was made on the 4th of February, the day of his death, which was announced in a QRZ.com forum post by his younger brother, Janez, S51DX.

It was only last July that Slavko celebrated 50 years as a radio amateur by operating a month-long special event using the callsign S573DX. On the QRZ page for that special event, he wrote that as a newly licensed 16-year-old amateur in July of 1973 [quote] "my heartbeat was near 200 at the time of first contact." [end quote] Despite his success in worldwide events, he also had time for young radio operators. In 2022, youngsters attending YOTA camp at Voice of America in West Chester, Ohio, were thrilled to log him as their first DX contact.

He was a veteran of the Slovenian military where he was a specialist in telecommunications. He was also a proud member of a ham radio family that includes his wife, Pavla, S56DX, brother Janez, S51DX, and youngest brother, Bojan, S53YT. Radio, he wrote on QRZ.com, was "love at first sight" and even 50 years later, the excitement never died.

(QRZ.COM)

**
A BOOST FOR DEVELOPING NATIONS' CUBESATS

JIM/ANCHOR: Qualifying CubeSats from developing nations will be able to get a free ride into space soon under an agreement signed last month between the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and Exolaunch GmbH (Exolaunch). Jason Daniels VK2LAW has those details.

JASON: UN member countries involved in space exploration are gaining a boost from a pact the UN's Office for Outer Space Affairs has signed with the Berlin-based company known as Exolaunch. The agreement is part of the Access to Space for All programme that opens the door to experience in space exploration for countries that might not otherwise have such access. The programme also presents opportunities for the next generation in developing countries to put their STEM education to work with an eye toward pursuing a space-related career.

This is Jason Daniels VK2LAW.

(UN OFFICE FOR OUTER SPACE, EXOLAUNCH)

**
FAREWELL TO CUBESAT AO-92

JIM/ANCHOR: Satellite enthusiasts said a final goodbye to the popular AMSAT CubeSat known as AO-92, which re-entered the earth's atmosphere on the 3rd of February after six years of service. Before its weakening batteries made the satellite unreliable, its FM transponder was well-used and allowed many hams to set distance records for contacts. The satellite's payloads also included an L-band converter, an experimental camera, and a MEMS GYRO experiment.

Meanwhile, despite the announcement that Sapienza Space Systems and Space Surveillance Laboratory would decommission the ham digipeater on satellite IO-117, known as GreenCube, the satellite remained in operation after the 5th of February. Petition drives and a letter from AMSAT's president Robert Bankston, KE4AL, made last minute appeals to keep the satellite and its well-used digipeater in action. As Newsline went to production, AMSAT's Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, told Newsline that the amateur community was still awaiting a response from the Italian Space Agency, which owns the satellite and is leaving it in operation pending a decision.

(AMSAT, SAPIENZA SPACE SYSTEMS, SATNOG)

**
CHANGES TO UK LICENSES BEGIN THIS MONTH

JIM/ANCHOR: The earliest of the sweeping changes to UK ham licenses are to begin this month. Jeremy Boot G4NJH tells us about some of them.

JEREMY: The first of the changes to be made to ham licenses in the UK are to be implemented by the end of this month. Amateurs have already begun receiving information from Ofcom newsletters or to read about the changes in the latest issue of RadCom published by the Radio Society of Great Britain. Some of these first changes include permission for Foundation licensees to build their own equipment and to operate on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. The new rules also permit third-party operation under supervision. Regional Secondary Locators are to become optional. Foundation and Full licensees in England may optionally use "E" as an identifier. Changes to power levels include the ability to transmit while airborne on primary ham bands but with power limited to 500mW EIRP.

The main documents containing these and other changes to the licensing framework can be found on the Ofcom website. Follow the link that is in this week's text version of Newsline at arnewsline.org

Additional changes are expected to be phased in later this year.

This is Jeremy Boot G4NJH.

(OFCOM, RSGB'S RADCOM)

**
RIDING RADIO'S ROAD TO PLUTO'S DISCOVERY

JIM/ANCHOR: If you look at a map of the United States, you'd never guess for one minute that the highway known as Route 66 - The Mother Road - doesn't just travel between East and West but it actually leads to Pluto! Randy Sly W4XJ explains.

RANDY: How did radio amateurs start the special event marking the discovery of Pluto in 1930? By getting on Route 66! We’re talking about the annual Pluto Anniversary Countdown, a 10-year-long activity, counting down to the discovery's centennial year 2030. The event, however, has an interesting beginning. Doug Tombaugh, N3PDT, nephew of Clyde Tombaugh, the astronomer who made the discovery, told Newsline that it began when he contacted Bob Wertz, NF7E, during the Route Sixty-six special event, which Bob helps organize with the Northern Arizona Dx Association.

DOUG: “Bob was running the Route Sixty-Six Station out of Flagstaff. And I called him and I got in. I said, that's great. And I said, by the way, my last name's kind of famous in Flagstaff. And he asked who I was.

“We had a nice little chat about that and he contacted me via email later just to say hi. Then just, we've kind of kept in contact. They said they were going to have a countdown to the hundredth anniversary.

“Northern Arizona DX Association… Well, you know, they do events. So they did this Pluto event up well and really, really a great bunch of guys and gals and really nice to be associated with them and be included in this. It's a lot of fun.”

RANDY: This year, W7P at the Lowell Observatory and W7P/0, lead by Doug, will be active for the fourth year of the countdown from February 11th through the 19th. For more information, visit the Northern Arizona DX Association Website at nadxa.com.

**
INT'L YL GROUP PLANS EVENT AT CZECH CONTEST STATION

JIM/ANCHOR: August may seem like a long way off but for one international group of YLs, the days between the 4th and the 10th of that month can't come soon enough. Sel Embee KB3TZD tells us why.

SEL: Imagine having access to a first-class contest station in Europe for a whole week. In between getting on the air, imagine attending workshops on how to solder more efficiently, how to set up a station for the digital modes and how to build a 20-meter dipole that can be carried back to the home QTH after the week is over. The OK5Z contest station in the Czech Republic will be the centerpiece of a full week of YL radio adventures. The hosts will also share their accounts of SOTA activations, DXpeditions to Africa and various flora and fauna activations in the OKFF programme.

For information about hotel accommodations or activities during the week, or to reserve a place, contact Eva HB9FPM/OK3QI at the email address shown in the text version of this week's Newsline script at arnewsline.org

This is Sel Embee KB3TZD.

[EMAIL EVA at hb9fpm@uska.ch ]

(EVA, HB9FPM; RAISA, R1BIG)

**
NORTH BENGAL HAMS PROVIDE SUPPORT AT MAJOR FESTIVAL

JIM/ANCHOR: A radio command center staffed by hams played an important role for the first time this year at a major festival in India. Jim Meachen ZL2BHF tells us how they did it.

JIM: For the first time in its 18 years, a major festival in West Bengal, India, known as the Dooars Utsav, invited amateur radio operators to provide critical support.

The festival took place on the central parade grounds in Alipurduar in late December, concluding at the end of January, drawing three quarters of a million attendees. Anurag, VU3IYJ, told Newsline in an email that this was the first time licensed hams were present to set up a command centre to assist with the crowds. Priyam, VU3IYI, donated the VHF and HF base stations for field support.

The North Bengal Amateur Radio Society, led by Swarup, VU3KOX, was assisted by volunteers from the OSCAR India training programme, including Jeet, VU2OIJ, and Niladri, VU3FOY. The hams also activated special event station AT28BDU.

Anurag told Newsline that the hams were able to conduct some public education as well on behalf of amateur radio, leading an awareness program and having posters on display to explain the contributions that hams make to the community.

This is Jim Meachen ZL2BHF.

(YOUTUBE, ANURAG VU3IYJ)

**
EXPLORING SILICON VALLEY'S AMATEUR ROOTS

JIM/ANCHOR:The innovative spirit of California's Silicon Valley has its roots in the innovative spirit of amateur radio, according to one expert who has spent his life in both worlds. On the 23rd of February, he will share his observations in a presentation that anyone can attend - from anywhere. Ralph Squillace KK6ITB tells us about him and his unique history lesson.

RALPH: California's Santa Clara Valley literally blooms with innovation. Its technology-rich landscape is populated by Big Data, blockchain, mobile communications, biotech, AI and other creations that were once only blueprints and dreams. Add to that list - amateur radio - which Paul Wesling, KM6LH, believes contributed heavily to the start of it all. He will share a presentation on the valley's evolution into an innovation center when she visits the California Historical Radio Society where he can be seen and heard in person as well as via Zoom. Registration is required for both means of attendance.

This has been a popular talk wherever it has been presented by Paul, who is an engineer and lecturer. He traces the influence of ingenuity and inventiveness during and after the Second World War from Palo Alto, California into the Santa Clara Valley, starting with the names of now-famous tinkerers throughout history: Lee de Forest, Bill Eital W6UF, David Packard, 9DRV and Bill Hewlett. He takes the history lesson right up to Apple computer's Steve Wozniak, WA6BND and Atari's Nolan Bushnell, W7DUK.

For registration details and additional information, see the historical radio society's website by following the link in the text version of this week's Newsline script at arnewsline.org

This is Ralph Squillace KK6ITB.

[DO NOT READ: https://californiahistoricalradio.com/event/origins-of-silicon-valley-roots-in-ham-radio/ ]

(CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL RADIO SOCIETY, AMATEUR RADIO DAILY)

**
WORLD OF DX

In the World of DX, BJ, WA7WJR, will be on the air holiday style from Vietnam as XV9WJR from the 12th to the 22nd of February. He will be operating CW, SSB and digital modes on 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10 metres. QSL direct to his home call.

Listen for Chuck, KG9N, operating as V26CV from Antigua, IOTA Number NA-100, until the 20th of February. He is using mainly CW and SSB. See QRZ.com for details.

Listen throughout February for the special callsign SC5ØAG, marking the Scandinavian CW Activity Group's 50th anniversary. All QSOs will be confirmed automatically via the bureau and LoTW.

A monthlong celebration of World Radio Day (13 February) and the 100th anniversary of the start of regular radio broadcasting in Spain, is happening on the air with the special callsign AO100RADIO (AY OH ONE ZERO ZERO R A D I O) until the 29th of February. See QRZ.com for details.

(425DX BULLETIN)

**
KICKER: AMATEUR RADIO PUT A SONG IN HIS HEART

JIM: We dedicate our final story to the holiday known as Valentine's Day - an occasion for many in some countries to celebrate the people and even the things of which they are fondest. For many of us, that includes ham radio but - what else? Ah, that's a musical question and in this case Paul Braun WD9GCO has the answer.

PAUL: You're about to hear a love story. It's about Junie, N1DUC, who loves amateur radio. It's about Don Smith, a Mississippi song writer who loves music. Last year when the two met at a local coffee shop where Don was practicing some of his songs, Junie asked him if he could help create a song for her YouTube channel. Don said yes -- and then asked: Is there a way to send an affectionate message using Morse Code? Junie replied: Of course, you send the number "88," dah-dah-dah-di-dit. That's all the rhythm and inspiration that Don needed. With a little bit of research and a little bit of songwriting, he was back a week or so later, serenading Junie while they were seated outside the Bright-Eyed Brewing Coffee Shop. He also recorded the moment on his own YouTube channel: "Love and Kisses" is a love song to a form of communication that may not be quite as old as music itself, but just as effective as sending the message.

So here's a message from Newsline to Don and Junie, with apologies to William Shakespeare, who predates Samuel Morse by more than just a few years: [quote] "if Morse Code be the food of love, play on." [endquote]

THURSDAY EDITION: I am installing an off-center fed dipole for a friend tomorrow, the neat thing is I got the protype antenna from Rick BQT, and it was  later put into production by MFJ...

WHAT COULD GO WRONG

The United States military is one of many organizations embracing AI in our modern age, but it may want to pump the brakes a bit. A new study using AI in foreign policy decision-making found how quickly the tech would call for war instead of finding peaceful resolutions. Some AI in the study even launched nuclear warfare with little to no warning, giving strange explanations for doing so.

“All models show signs of sudden and hard-to-predict escalations,” said researchers in the study. “We observe that models tend to develop arms-race dynamics, leading to greater conflict, and in rare cases, even to the deployment of nuclear weapons.”  ARTICLE

Solar explosion triggered blackouts on Earth yesterday

Earth.com staff writer

A massive solar storm has caused widespread disruptions in Australia and South Asia, with more activity expected in the coming days. The colossal solar explosion released a plume of energized particles at an astonishing speed of 900,000 miles per hour through space. 

The solar storm reached Earth, triggering blackouts and affecting communication systems notably among ham radio operators and mariners.

Long-duration flare 

The event began with a long-duration flare that erupted from the sun at 8:30 pm ET on Monday. By Tuesday morning, shortly after 10 am ET, the solar explosion had made its presence felt on Earth, leading to notable disturbances. 

Chance of further disruptions 

The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center has since issued an alert, indicating a 45 percent chance of further communication disruptions in the days ahead. 

This forecast highlights the unpredictable nature of solar activities and their impact on Earth’s technology.

M-class flare 

The flare, classified as an M-class flare by physicists, possesses the capability to cause small to moderate radio blackouts on Earth’s daylight side. This classification of solar flares is significant as it directly affects frequencies utilized in crucial services including aviation communication, government time stations, and weather stations, among others. 

Broad impact

Dr. Tamitha Skov, a physicist, highlighted the broad impact of such solar phenomena. She told Daily Mail: “Those who (are typically) impacted are people who rely on GPS/GNSS services, especially at high latitudes, as well as precision farmers and anyone using UAVs for reconnaissance, search and rescue, or aerial photography.”

Coronal mass ejections

M-class flares are known for their potential to launch coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are massive eruptions of plasma and magnetic field from the sun’s surface. 

The recent CME contained billions of tons of solar material, capable of causing geomagnetic storms that disrupt Earth’s magnetosphere and satellites in orbit through a solar wind shock wave. 

Keith Strong, a solar physicist, shared insights on the trajectory of the CME, suggesting its potential impact on Earth due to its southern position on the sun.

High likelihood of continued activity

The incident underscores the sun’s volatile nature, with EarthSky’s predictions indicating a high likelihood of continued solar activity, including C, M, and X flares. While C-class flares are relatively minor, X flares represent major solar events with the capacity to cause significant disruptions globally.

 

WEDNESDAY EDITION: More eBaying at the club this morning, not sure what items we will pick to sell. We are replacing our entire repeater antenna system, hardline to the antenna, $5000, 145.130 will be back to normal soon. Currently we set up the repeater at the club, however the antenna is only 60 feet above sea level, not much of a footsprint.

The First Amateur Radio Station on the Moon, JS1YMG, is Now Transmitting

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully landed their Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) on January 19, 2024. Just before touchdown, SLIM released two small lunar surface probes, LEV-1 and LEV-2.

LEV-2 collects data while moving on the lunar surface, and LEV-1 receives the data.

The JAXA Ham Radio Club (JHRC), JQ1ZVI, secured amateur radio license JS1YMG for LEV-1, which has been transmitting Morse code on 437.41 MHz since January 19. The probe uses a 1 W UHF antenna with circular polarization and is transmitting "matters related to amateur business."

Radio amateurs have been busy analyzing JS1YMG's signal, with Daniel Estévez's, EA4GPZ, blog introducing the method and extraction results for demodulating Morse code from the signal, as well as extracting the code string.

It's unclear how long signals will be heard. JAXA has said that SLIM was not designed to survive a lunar night, which lasts about 14 days, and is due to return in a few days.

SLIM was launched on September 6, 2023, and landed on January 19, 2024, with the mission of analyzing the composition of rocks to aid research about the origin of the moon. SLIM's landing made Japan the fifth country to achieve a soft touchdown on the moon. The landing was achieved with exceptional precision -- within 180 feet of its targeted touchdown location.

2024 Total Solar Eclipse will provide valuable opportunity to conduct science in shadows

There is a total solar eclipse taking place in April 2024, where the Moon will cover the face of the Sun and reveal its corona or outer atmosphere. The Sun is nearing its solar maximum, and viewers of the spectacle can expect to spot some streamers in the corona. If the viewers are lucky, it is possible to view particularly spectacular solar activity, such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

In an event reminiscent of the total solar eclipse on 21 August, 2017, the shadow of the Moon will sweep across the United States on 08 April, 2024. There are however differences. The Moon will be closer to the Earth than it was in 2017, causing the shadow to be broader on the surface of the land, allowing more people to enjoy the spectacular sight of the Moon blocking the face of the Sun in the middle of the day. In 2017, the path of totality was 115 kilometres wide, but in 2024, it will be nearly 200 kilometres wide. The 2024 eclipse will also be crossing over more densely populated, urban regions.

NASA is taking advantage of the opportunity, and has provided support to five scientific experiments that will take place during the 2024 solar eclipse. One project will be using the WB-57 high altitude research aircraft to capture the eclipse from an altitude of over 55,000 feet (16,764 metres). The researchers hope to spot fine details in the features within the solar corona, examining the outer atmosphere of the Sun in visible and infrared frequencies. The aircraft will also use the opportunity to investigate a ring of dust around the Sun, as well as spot any asteroids orbiting near the Sun.

The ionosphere allows radio operators to communicate around the world despite the curvature of the Earth, by bouncing back signals. However, the behaviour of the ionosphere can be erratic during the eclipse. HAM radio operators will be pinging as many other operators as possible, and record the strength of the signals to track the changes in the ionosphere during the eclipse. A network of Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) ground sensors will investigate the influence of solar radiation on the upper layers of the Earth’s atmosphere during the course of the eclipse. Another team of scientists will observe the active regions of the Sun, associated with sunspots, solar flares, filament eruptions and CMEs.

TUESDAY EDITION:ARRL reports only 2 out of 10 who pass the tech ticket become active. I blame that on the clubs who test and do not follow thru with a class on how to get started in ham radio and encourage their interest in HF activity,ham  road race coverage, local club meetings...we try but can do better. We do offer free membership for one year if candidate passes exam at our club session.

UPDATE 4 Jan. 2024: Four years since Spectrum highlighted the ham radio operator world’s uncertain future in the U.S. and around the globe (below), recent news has bolstered the case for the continued vibrancy of this still very active community. Last May, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) signed an agreement with the National Association for Amateur Radio to underscore the importance of amateur radio operators—hams—in emergencies, natural disasters, storms, and other times of crisis. According to the National Association, for instance, one sub-group of trained amateur radio licensees alone provided more than 420,000 labor hours of voluntary service in 2022 to local governments, hospitals, and emergency response charities, providing an estimated savings to these organizations in $13.4 million in personnel costs.

Then in October, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission began circulating a draft update to its amateur radio operating restrictions. Since 1980, the FCC has mandated a maximum 300 baud for a range of amateur digital channels. (As a quick refresher or primer, baud is the number of signal widths transmitted per second in a given chanel and is not synonymous with bits per second or bps.) However the FCC’s revised draft regulations would uncap the dated baud restrictions, effectively speeding up channels in both the VHF and UHF bands.

Meanwhile, on 8 April this year, NASA is appealing to the ham radio community to increase communications during the total solar eclipse that will be visible across portions of North America. Increasing terrestirally-generated radio waves during these rare moments of sudden upper atmosphere quiescence will help NASA researchers better understand the workings of the ionosphere—the very medium that provides a communications channel that can sometimes span the globe, which is why hams are drawn to this unique and rewarding hobby in the first place. —IEEE Spectrum

Original article from 10 July 2020 follows:

Will the amateur airwaves fall silent? Since the dawn of radio, amateur operators—hams—have transmitted on tenaciously guarded slices of spectrum. Electronic engineering has benefited tremendously from their activity, from the level of the individual engineer to the entire field. But the rise of the Internet in the 1990s, with its ability to easily connect billions of people, captured the attention of many potential hams. Now, with time taking its toll on the ranks of operators, new technologies offer opportunities to revitalize amateur radio, even if in a form that previous generations might not recognize.

The number of U.S. amateur licenses has held at an anemic 1 percent annual growth for the past few years, with about 7,000 new licensees added every year for a total of 755,430 in 2018. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission doesn’t track demographic data of operators, but anecdotally, white men in their 60s and 70s make up much of the population. As these baby boomers age out, the fear is that there are too few young people to sustain the hobby.

“It’s the $60,000 question: How do we get the kids involved?” says Howard Michel, former CEO of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). (Since speaking with IEEE Spectrum, Michel has left the ARRL. A permanent replacement has not yet been appointed.)

This question of how to attract younger operators also reveals deep divides in the ham community about the future of amateur radio. Like any large population, ham enthusiasts are no monolith; their opinions and outlooks on the decades to come vary widely. And emerging digital technologies are exacerbating these divides: Some hams see them as the future of amateur radio, while others grouse that they are eviscerating some of the best things about it.

No matter where they land on these battle lines, however, everyone understands one fact. The world is changing; the amount of spectrum is not. And it will be hard to argue that spectrum reserved for amateur use and experimentation should not be sold off to commercial users if hardly any amateurs are taking advantage of it.

Before we look to the future, let’s examine the current state of play. In the United States, the ARRL, as the national association for hams, is at the forefront, and with more than 160,000 members it is the largest group of radio amateurs in the world. The 106-year-old organization offers educational courses for hams; holds contests where operators compete on the basis of, say, making the most long-distance contacts in 48 hours; trains emergency communicators for disasters; lobbies to protect amateur radio’s spectrum allocation; and more.

MONDAY EDITION: Why use eBay to sell ham gear? I sold my Icom 706MKIIG for $640 dollars minus the $64 for eBay! I couldn't give it away for $475 on Craigslist, probably less at a bottom feeding hamfest....I am putting on my Yaesu FT891 today with optional side rails....

11year old passes the general exam.

ACTIVE HAMS

 K1TP- Jon....Editor of As The World Turns....
WB1ABC- Ari..Bought an amp and now we can here him on 75 meters, worships his wife, obsessed with Id'ing
N1BOW-Phil...Retired broadcast engineer, confused and gullible, cheap, only uses singl ply toilet paper
KB1OWO- Larry...Handsome Fellow ,only cuts lawn in August, plows snow the rest in Jackman, Maine
W1GEK- Big Mike....Nearfest Cook, big motor home, electronics software engineer ...
AA1SB- Neil...Living large traveling the country with his girlfriend...loves CW
N1YX- Igor....peddles quality Russian keys, software engineer
K1BGH...Art.....Restores cars and radio gear, nice fella...
N1XW.....Mike-easy going, Harley riding kind of guy!
K1JEK-Joe...Easy going, can be found at most ham flea market ...Cobra Antenna builder..
KA1GJU- Kriss- Tower climbing pilot who cooks on the side at Hosstrader's...
W1GWU-Bob....one of the Hosstrader's original organizers, 75 meter regular, Tech Wizard!!!
K1PV- Roger....75 meter regular, easy going guy...
W1XER...Scott....easy going guy, loves to split cordwood and hunt...
KB1VX- Barry- the picture says it all, he loves food!
KC1BBU- Bob....the Mud Duck from the Cape Cod Canal, making a lot of noise.
W1STS- Scott...philosopher, hat connoisseur,
KB1JXU- Matthew...75 meter regular...our token liberal Democrat out of Florida
K1PEK-Steve..Founder of Davis-RF....my best friend from high school 
K9AEN-John...Easy going ham found at all the ham fests
K1BQT.....Rick....very talented ham, loves his politics, has designed gear for MFJ...
W1KQ- Jim-  Retired Air Force Controller...told quite a few pilots where to go!
N1OOL-Jeff- The 3936 master plumber and ragchewer...
K1BRS-Bruce- Computer Tech of 3936...multi talented kidney stone passing ham...
K1BGH- Arthur, Cape Cod, construction company/ice cream shop, hard working man....
W1VAK- Ed, Cape Cod, lots of experience in all areas, once was a Jacques Cousteus body guard....
K1BNH- Bill- Used to work for a bottled gas company-we think he has been around nitrous oxide to long
W1HHO- Cal...3941 group
K1MPM- Pete...3941 group
WA1JFX- Russell...3941 SILENT KEYS

Silet Key KA1BXB-Don...Regular on 3900 mornings....just don't mention politics to him, please!
Silent Key N1IOM- 3910 colorful regular
Silent Key WS1D- Warren- "Windy" - Bullnet
Silent Key KMIG-Rick....75 Meter Regular....teaches the future of mankind, it's scary!
Silent Key Neil -K1YPM .....a true gentleman
Silent Key K1BXI- John.........Dr. Linux....fine amateur radio op ....wealth of experience...
Silent KeyVA2GJB- Graham...one of the good 14313 guys back in the day.
Silent Key K1BHV- David...PITA
Silent Key W1JSH- Mort...Air Force man
Silent Key K1MAN--Glen....PITA
Silent KeyKB1CJG-"Cobby"- Low key gent can be found on many of the 75 meter nets.........
Silent KeyWB1AAZ- Mike, Antrim, NH, auto parts truck driver-retired
Silent KeyWB1DVD- Gil....Gilly..Gilmore.....easy going, computer parts selling, New England Ham..
Silent Key W1OKQ- Jack....3936 Wheeling and Dealing......keeping the boys on there toes....
Silent Key W1TCS- Terry....75 meter regular, wealth of electronic knowledge...
Silent Key WIPNR- Mack....DXCC Master, worked them all!.. 3864 regular for many years...
Silent Key WILIM- Hu....SK at 92... 3864 regular for many years...
Silent Key N1SIE- Dave....Loves to fly
Silent Key:N1WBD- Big Bob- Tallest ham, at 6'10", of the 3864 group
Silent Key: W1FSK-Steve....Navy Pilot, HRO Salesman, has owned every radio ever built!
Silent Key: W4NTI-Vietnam Dan....far from easy going cw and ssb op on 14275/313
Silent Key:K1FUB-Bill- Loved ham radio....